(b) The Governor, with the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint a director of the office who shall serve as the administrative head of the office and as chief hearing examiner.
(c) Prior to appointment, the Chief Hearing Examiner shall be a citizen of the United States and a resident of this state who is admitted to the practice of law in this state.
(d) The salary of the Chief Hearing Examiner shall be set by the Secretary of the Department of Transportation. The salary shall be within the salary range for comparable administrators as determined by the State Personnel Board created by section six, article six, chapter twenty-nine of this code.
(e) The Chief Hearing Examiner during his or her term shall:
(1) Devote his or her full time to the duties of the position;
(2) Not otherwise engage in the active practice of law or be associated with any group or entity which is itself engaged in the active practice of law: Provided, That nothing in this paragraph may be construed to prohibit the Chief Hearing Examiner from being a member of a national, state or local bar association or committee, or of any other similar group or organization, or to prohibit the Chief Hearing Examiner from engaging in the practice of law by representing himself, herself or his or her immediate family in their personal affairs in matters not subject to this article.
(3) Not engage directly or indirectly in any activity, occupation or business interfering or inconsistent with his or her duties as Chief Hearing Examiner;
(4) Not hold any other appointed public office or any elected public office or any other position of public trust; and
(5) Not be a candidate for any elected public office, or serve on or under any committee of any political party.
(f) The Governor may remove the Chief Hearing Examiner only for incompetence, neglect of duty, official misconduct or violation of subsection (e) of this section, and removal shall be in the same manner as that specified for removal of elected state officials in section six, article six, chapter six of this code.
(g) The term of the Chief Hearing Examiner shall be six years. A person holding the position of Chief Hearing Examiner may be reappointed to that position subject to the provisions of subsection (b).
(1) The Chief Hearing Examiner may delegate administrative duties to other employees, but the Chief Hearing Examiner shall be responsible for all official delegated acts.
(2) All employees of the Office of Administrative Hearings, except the Chief Hearing Examiner, shall be in the classified service and shall be governed by the provisions of the statutes, rules and policies of the classified service in accordance with the provisions of article six, chapter twenty-nine of this code.
(3) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, those persons serving as hearing examiners within the Division of Motor Vehicles on the effective date of this article as enacted during the Regular Session of the 2010 Legislature, shall be eligible and given first preference in hiring as hearing examiners pursuant to this article.
(b) The Chief Hearing Examiner shall:
(1) Direct and supervise the work of the office staff;
(2) Make hearing assignments;
(3) Maintain the records of the office;
(4) Review and approve decisions of hearing examiners as to legal accuracy, clarity and other requirements;
(5) Submit to the Legislature, on or before the fifteenth day of February, an annual report summarizing the office's activities since the end of the last report period, including a statement of the number and type of matters handled by the office during the preceding fiscal year and the number of matters pending at the end of the year; and
(6) Perform the other duties necessary and proper to carry out the purposes of this article.
(c) The administrative expenses of the office shall be included within the annual budget of the Department of Transportation.
(1) Appeals from an order of the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles suspending a license pursuant to section eight, article two-b, chapter seventeen-b of this code;
(2) Appeals from decisions or orders of the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles suspending or revoking a license pursuant to sections three-c, six and twelve, article three, chapter seventeen-b of this code;
(3) Appeals from orders of the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles pursuant to section two, article five-a of this chapter, revoking or suspending a license under the provisions of section one of this article or section seven, article five of chapter;
(4) Appeals from decisions or orders of the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles denying, suspending, revoking, refusing to renew any license or imposing any civil money penalty for violating the provisions of any licensing law contained in chapters seventeen-b and seventeen-c that are administered by the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles; and
(5) Other matters which may be conferred on the office by statute or legislatively approved rules.
(b) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles may be represented at hearings conducted by the Office and evidence submitted by the Commissioner may be considered in such hearings with or without such representation.
(c) The West Virginia Rules of Evidence governing proceedings in the courts of this state shall be given like effect in hearings held before a hearing examiner. All testimony shall be given under oath.
(d) Except as otherwise provided by this code or legislative rules, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles has the burden of proof.
(e) The hearing examiner may request proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law from the parties prior to the issuance by the office of the decision in the matter.
(f) Hearings shall be exempt from the requirements of article one, chapter twenty-nine-b of this code.
The Office of Administrative Hearings may propose legislative and procedural rules in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code in order to implement the provisions of this article and to carry out the duties prescribed therein.
Any person who has any pending contested matter before the Office of Administrative Hearings is required to provide written notice of a change in address by written notice at least ten days prior to any scheduled hearing in which they are a party. If the person's final hearing is held prior to the person's change in address, then the person is required to provide the written notice prior to the issuance of the final order in their case. Written notice must be provided by certified mail, return receipt requested, facsimile, or by electronic mail, to the Office of Administrative Hearings.
(b) On the effective date of this article, all equipment and records necessary to effectuate the purposes of this article shall be transferred from the Division of Motor Vehicle to the Office of Administrative Hearings: Provided, That in order to provide for a smooth transition, the Secretary of Transportation may establish interim policies and procedures, determine how the equipment and records are to be transferred and provide that the transfers provided for in this subsection take effect no later than October 1, 2010.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session