Some call it an “ombudsman”. I call it a “Customer Advocate”. Different words, similar concept. In 2003, an Arlington voter suggested to me that the office of the Commissioner of Revenue needed an ombudsman. So, in 2004, during my first year as Commissioner, I used a vacant position to create the position of Customer Advocate.
The mission of the Customer Advocate in my office is “to protect the rights of individual and business taxpayers and to resolve those issues not satisfactorily addressed through normal channels.” The Customer Advocate has intimate knowledge of the operation of each division in my office. Her goal is to recommend administrative solutions and changes, while still promoting and upholding the Commissioner’s mission of fair and equitable application of the tax laws.
Assisting customers to solve problems with the office enabled the Customer Advocate to review operational procedures and to find solutions to bottlenecks. And by focusing on the customer, we changed our organizational culture from a task-oriented to a service-oriented office.
In the past couple of years, my Customer Advocate has helped many constituents to resolve issues with other departments within the County government. That’s because we strongly believe that if a customer calls on us with a problem, even if it is not related to assessments or taxes, as an elective office it is our duty to help solve that customer’s problem.
Arlington Commissioner of Revenue