About the 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, she 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. She 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 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.
The Alaska State Ombudsman investigates citizen complaints about administrative acts of state agencies and determines appropriate remedies. A.S. 24.55
The Alaska State Ombudsman promotes fair and efficient government through objective inquiry and well-reasoned recommendations for meaningful, measurable improvement.
The Office of the Ombudsman was established by the Alaska Legislature in 1975 and is governed by Alaska Statutes 24.55.010-340.
The Ombudsman is not an advocate. We look at complaints with an independent, objective, and neutral eye. The Ombudsman investigates to determine whether an agency’s actions were unlawful, unreasonable, unfair, arbitrary, erroneous, or inefficient. If appropriate, the Ombudsman will recommend a way to resolve the complaint and/or prevent future complaints.
Ombudsman investigations are confidential. When there is a substantial public interest involved, the Ombudsman will publish a public summary of an investigation, findings, and any recommendations.
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.