A relationship of trust and confidence between employees of the Office of the Public Advocate and the communities that they serve is essential to the effective operation of state government. Agency employees must be free to exercise their best judgment in their performance of their duties. Agency employees also have a special obligation to respect the rights of all persons. The Public Advocate Office acknowledges the responsibility to establish a complaint system and procedures that not only will subject the Public Advocate Office employees to corrective action when improper conduct has occurred, but that will also protect the Public Advocate Office employees from unwarranted or spurious criticism when they discharge their duties properly. The purpose of these procedures is to provide prompt, just and open disposition of complaints regarding the conduct of the Public Advocate Office employees.
It is the policy of the Public Advocate Office to encourage the public to comment when the conduct of the employee is believed to be improper. The Public Advocate Office will make every effort to ensure that no adverse consequences occur to any person or witness as a result of having brought a complaint or for providing information concerning a complaint or for providing information concerning a complaint. Any Public Advocate Office employee who subjects a complainant or witness to such recrimination will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
- The Public Advocate Office encourages the public to bring forward legitimate complaints regarding misconduct by its employees. To this end, a copy of "HOW TO FILE A PERSONNEL COMPLAINT" will be posted at the Public Advocate Office and on the Office's website and will be given to anyone requesting this information. A copy of this is attached to this policy. Complaints, regardless of the nature, can be lodged in person, by mail, fax or email.
- Any employee of the Public Advocate Office who receives a complaint on an agency employee shall, as soon as practicable, notify Public Service Manager of the details of the complaint for evaluation and assignment.
- Upon receipt of a complaint, the Public Service Manager shall determine whether the complaint should be investigated and by whom. Complaints of criminal conduct should be forwarded to the Bureau of Employee Relations to ensure cooperation with appropriate law enforcement authorities.
- Investigations of complaints shall be completed within a reasonable time.
- It is the responsibility of the investigator to thoroughly and confidentially investigate the matter and, when appropriate, to submit a complete and accurate investigative report. In the event a report is warranted, all relevant information obtained by the investigator shall be included.
- All investigations shall comply with the provisions of the applicable collective bargaining agreements.
- When applicable, the report shall include a summary of interviews with the complainants, synopsis, finding(s) of fact, chronology of the investigator, and documentation of compliance with the employee's contractual rights.
- Recommendations regarding the disposition of an investigation or discipline generally are not included in the investigative report. Such recommendations should only be included in consultation with the appointing authority.
- Notification to the Complainant
- Upon the final disposition, the complainant will be notified of the outcome of the investigation to the extent permitted by the civil service and agency confidentiality laws.
- OPA POLICY ON CITIZEN COMPLAINT AND INVESTIGATION
Maine Public Advocate Office: How to File a Personnel Complaint
If you wish to make a complaint about a member of the Maine Public Advocate Office please, email, mail, come to or call the Office and ask to speak directly to the Public Advocate or Deputy Public Advocate so that you can make a complaint.
Maine Public Advocate Office
Physically located at:
103 Water Street, 3rd floor
Hallowell, ME 04347
112 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0112
Complaints should identify yourself and contain specific details about your complaint. (For instance, date and time of the particular incident.)
Your complaint will be investigated as expeditiously as possible. When the investigation of your complaint has been completed, a written explanation (within the limits of confidentiality laws) will be forwarded to you.
The Public Advocate or Deputy Public Advocate shall ensure that:
- All citizen complaint records and investigations remain confidential as allowed or required by statute.
- Each complaint and corresponding investigation is documented.
- An annual summary report is prepared for the agency head that includes statistical data that will aid in identifying the possible need for training, supervision, or other pertinent issues.