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For immediate release: September 24, 2008
For further information contact: Winnie Comfort or Tammy Kendig

Bergen Vicinage Appoints Ombudsman to Assist Court Visitors

Jennifer Shultis has been named the new ombudsman for the Bergen Vicinage of Superior Court, Trial Court Administrator Jon Goodman has announced.

"An ombudsman is an advocate for the customer. With her extensive background in customer service both here and in private industry, Ms. Shultis is a terrific fit for the job," said Goodman.

As ombudsman, Ms. Shultis will assist litigants and other court visitors by explaining court procedures, programs and services; helping self-represented litigants; directing the public to appropriate offices and court staff; working with the various divisions to resolve customer complaints; referring customers to relevant social service agencies or other local agencies; distributing brochures and informational material; and developing court tours and community outreach programs.

Although the ombudsman cannot offer legal advice, she can provide contact information to lawyer referral services.

"The ombudsman plays an important role in building the public's trust and confidence in the courts," said Ms. Shultis. "I am really looking forward to working with the public and helping them find the services and information they need."

The ombudsman program began in the Camden Vicinage in 1996 and expanded to Essex in 1998. In June 2005, the Judiciary adopted a statewide policy for providing an ombudsman in each vicinage.

Ms. Shultis holds a bachelor's degree in communications from William Paterson University and a master's degree in adult education from the University of Phoenix. She began her customer service career at Bank of America, later working as a training specialist responsible for developing customer service training. She joined the Judiciary in 2006 as the training coordinator for Bergen Vicinage.

Ms. Shultis can be reached at 201-527-2263.

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