The General Assembly created the Maryland Public Information Act (PIA) to codify the public’s right to information about government activities. This right lies at the heart of a democratic government. The Public Access Ombudsman’s office was created through the same statute that created the PIACB. The Ombudsman’s duties involve making reasonable attempts to resolve disputes between applicants and custodians relating to requests for public records under the PIA through mediation.
When it works, Mediation saves money. Early resolution of disputes through the Ombudsman program saves time and resources and increases public knowledge and awareness of the PIA process. For example, mediation is entirely voluntary, confidential, and in many cases doesn’t require an attorney.