Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

April 20, 2013

Chamber launching Ombudsman Program

By Paul Hooper
Corsicana and Navarro County Chamber of Commerce

Corsicana — The Corsicana and Navarro County Chamber of Commerce is excited and pleased to announce a new service and program that is available to both members and non-members.

The new “Ombudsman Program” will have an advocate who is independent of the city of Corsicana, but who is charged with representing the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints or request for assistance when opening or expanding a business in Corsicana, or in understanding city ordinances and requirements for doing business in Corsicana.

 The Ombudsman is a designated neutral party who is a volunteer for the Chamber and not an employee of the city that can help with dispute resolution, provide coaching, shuttle diplomacy, generic solutions (a solution which protects the identity of one individual), mediation for conflicts, track problem areas, and make recommendations for changes to policies or procedures in support of orderly systems change.

The Ombudsman will have the resources of the City of Corsicana and the chamber to help resolve complaints and concerns that cannot be resolved by business owners, current or potential. The chamber, Mayor Chuck McClanahan, and City Manager Connie Standridge, have discussed how this service and program could benefit our city and businesses and are in support of the Ombudsman Program.

Objectives of the program are to:

• Intervene on behalf of business merchants to identify, investigate and resolve complaints.

• Investigate, negotiate, mediate or initiate the resolution of complaints and difficulties.

• Improve communication between businesses and City of Corsicana.

The chamber recently attended a meeting with some of the downtown merchants meeting to discuss their needs, concerns, issues and wants for operating a business in Corsicana. Frank Steed, Chamber Board Chair, spoke to the merchants about the chamber’s efforts to find a way to assist businesses in understanding ordinances/requirements, resolving issues and/or knowing what to do and whom to talk to when operating or opening a business in Corsicana. He mentioned the Ombudsman Program and the feedback was supportive in having this service available from the Chamber.

With the city’s support and some of the local merchant’s positive response, the chamber recruited a volunteer well known in our community that all agreed could be impartial, fair, and diplomatic, who is willing to commit his personal time to working with the Chamber, City and our community businesses.

The chamber is proud to announce that Dick Aldama has agreed to serve as our Ombudsman. If you do not know Dick now, you soon will. He is a credit to our community and will do a wonderful job for us all.

Thank you Dick for caring and wanting to make a difference for Corsicana.

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Paul Hooper is President and CEO of the Corsicana and Navarro County Chamber of Commerce. He may be reached by email at phooper@corsicana.org