Alaska's Ombudsman

Kate Burkhart began her term as Alaska State Ombudsman on June 25, 2017. She served as an assistant ombudsman in 2006-2007.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Burkhart served as executive director of the Alaska Mental Health Board and Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse from 2007-2017. She was also the executive director of the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council from 2010-2017. Kate served Alaskans in Northwest and Southeast Alaska as an attorney with Alaska Legal Services Corporation from 2001-2006, representing victims of domestic violence, elders, and people experiencing disabilities.

The Office of the Ombudsman was established by the Alaska Legislature in 1975 and is governed by Alaska Statutes 24.55.010-340. The office accepts citizen complaints about state agencies and personnel. The ombudsman may investigate to determine whether an agency act was unlawful, unreasonable, unfair, arbitrary, erroneous, or inefficient, and may seek an appropriate remedy.
 
The ombudsman may interview state employees, examine confidential state documents, inspect agency premises, hold private hearings, and issue subpoenas. The ombudsman cannot disclose information made confidential by law. For more information about how the Office of the Ombudsman works, click here.
 
In addition to investigating citizen complaints against state agencies, the Office of the Ombudsman is a resource to the Legislature. The ombudsman may issue investigative reports and may submit to the Legislature recommendations for changes in state laws governing state agencies and programs. Municipalities and school districts may contract with the office for local ombudsman services. 

The ombudsman is selected by the Alaska Legislature's bi-partisan Ombudsman Selection Committee, subject to approval by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature in joint session and by the Governor. The ombudsman serves for a term of five years and may be reappointed twice.