University staff will soon have new support in the form of a staff ombuds.

The university plans to create the new position to serve as a neutral third party for staff members, offering information and referrals and answering sensitive questions to help staff members resolve concerns or conflicts.

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The job has been posted on the university’s careers website. The Office of the Chief Financial Officer has appointed a search committee led by chair Sean O’Neil, chief financial officer, Stephen M. Ross School of Business; and co-chair Debora Talley, director of sponsored programs, Finance.

The committee includes representation from the Ross School, LSA, College of Engineering, the Provost’s Office, Student Life, Michigan Medicine and Voices of the Staff.

The new ombuds will be similar to the faculty and student ombuds, providing confidential, impartial support, but will focus exclusively on staff members on the Ann Arbor campus and Michigan Medicine.

After the first year, the university will consider extending the service to the Flint and Dearborn campuses.

The staff ombuds will report directly to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Kevin Hegarty.

The new role is being created in response to feedback and recommendations from two recent university committees.

In 2015, the Staff Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion recommended creating an independent position to help resolve concerns from staff members. Feedback from staff identified a need for support to resolve concerns and navigate university programs and resources.

As follow-up the following year, Vice Provost Robert Sellers convened the Staff Ombudsperson Program Proposal Committee to research and make recommendations for creating a staff ombuds role at U-M.

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