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Title: Section 519.15 - Hearing officer.

519.15 Hearing officer. (a) The hearing officer has all the powers conferred by law to require attendance of witnesses and the production of books and records, and to administer oaths and to take testimony.

(b) The hearing officer will preside over the hearing.

(c) A party to a hearing may make a request to a hearing officer that the hearing officer remove himself or herself from presiding at the hearing.

(1) The grounds for removing a hearing officer are that such hearing officer has:

(i) previously dealt in any way with the substance of the matter which is the subject of the hearing except in the capacity of hearing officer; or

(ii) any interest in the matter, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, which will impair the independent judgment of the hearing officer; or

(iii) displayed bias or partiality to any party to the hearing.

(2) The hearing officer may independently determine to remove himself or herself from presiding at a hearing on the grounds set forth in paragraph (1) of this subdivision.

(3) The request for removal made by a party must:

(i) be made in good faith; and

(ii) be made at the hearing in writing or orally on the record; and

(iii) describe in detail the grounds for requesting that the hearing officer be removed.

(4) Upon receipt of a request for removal, the hearing officer must determine on the record whether to remove himself or herself from the hearing.

(5) If the hearing officer determines not to remove himself or herself from presiding at the hearing, the hearing officer must advise the party requesting removal that the hearing will continue but the request for removal will automatically be reviewed by the general counselor or the general counsel's designee.

(6) The determination of the hearing officer not to remove himself or herself will be reviewed by the general counsel or the general counsel's designee. Such review will include review of written documents submitted by the parties and the transcript of the hearing.

(7) The general counsel or the general counsel's designee must issue a written determination of whether the hearing officer should be removed from presiding at the hearing within 15 business days of the close of the hearing.

(8) The written determination of the general counsel or the general counsel's designee will be made part of the record.

(d) The hearing officer will make an opening statement describing the nature of the proceeding, the issues and the manner in which the hearing will be conducted.

(e) The hearing officer will review the evidence submitted by the parties, determine the credibility of the witnesses, examine the parties and witnesses when cross-examination has failed to elicit all facts within the person's knowledge having a direct bearing on the issues at hearing, make findings of fact relevant to the issues of the hearing and make a written recommendation.

(f) The hearing officer will prepare an official report containing the substance of what transpired at the hearing, including a written recommendation.



VOLUME C (Title 18)