ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – The Anchorage municipal ombudsman sent a letter to all Anchorage public library staff following concerns that library staff do not feel comfortable filing personnel complaints to the municipal Human Resources director as employees of the library are said to have a perception that their concerns are not being investigated fairly.
According to Darrel Hess, the Anchorage municipal ombudsman, the reason employees of the library are coming forward is because Niki Tshibaka, the city’s HR director, was recently seen wearing a t-shirt that said “I’m with Judy.”
Judy is the first name of the deputy director at the library, filling the absence of a permanent director.
“It fed into the concerns of some library employees that any personnel complaints that they filed with the HR department might not be investigated impartially,” Hess explained.
An investigation is not being held to look into the validity of these claims, but rather library employees were directed to the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission or the city’s Office of Equal Opportunity.
“Under municipal code, the ombudsman’s office is required to allow a department an opportunity to address an issue before we inquire. We’re the caboose on the train, we’re the last stop,” Hess said.
However, Hess says a new protocol for personnel complaints from the library staff seems to be needed going forward.
“Policies may need to be changed just to reassure the public or reassure employees that things will be done fairly, and impartially, and they will be handled professionally, and in this instance it’s about providing that assurance to the library employees,” Hess said.
A representative with Mayor Bronson’s office did make a statement, simply saying that “The administration has complied with the recommendations from the municipal ombudsman.”
Alaska’s News Source reached out to both Niki Tshibaka and Judy Eledge for comment, but has not heard back at this time.
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