(b) In order to qualify for appointment as an oil and gas inspector or supervising inspector, an eligible applicant shall submit to a written and oral examination by the Oil and Gas Inspectors' Examining Board and shall furnish any evidence of good health, character and other facts establishing eligibility required by the board. If the board finds after investigation and examination that an applicant: (1) Is eligible for appointment; and (2) has passed all written and oral examinations, the board shall add the applicant's name and grade to the register of qualified eligible candidates and certify its action to the director of the Division of Environmental Protection. No candidate's name may remain on the register for more than three years without requalifying.
(c) Within the limits provided by law, the salary of each inspector and of the supervising inspector shall be fixed by the director and the Oil and Gas Inspectors' Examining Board may make recommendations for salary determinations. In fixing salaries of the oil and gas inspectors and of the supervising inspector, the director shall consider ability, performance of duty and experience. Inspectors and supervising inspectors are entitled to mileage expense reimbursement at the rate established for in-state travel of public employees, in the Governor's travel rules, as administered by the Department of Administration. No reimbursement for traveling expenses may be made except upon an itemized account of the expenses submitted by the inspector or supervising inspector, as the case may be, who shall verify, upon oath, that the expenses were actually incurred in the discharge of official duties.
(d)(1) For grievances concerning matters other than suspension or dismissal, inspectors may file written grievances in accordance with the procedures set forth in article two, chapter six-c of this code. For a level one grievance, the inspector shall file the grievance with the supervising inspector. For a level two grievance, the inspector shall file the grievance with the chief of the Office of Oil and Gas.
(2) An inspector or the supervising inspector, after having received a permanent appointment, shall be suspended or dismissed by the chief of the Office of Oil and Gas only for physical or mental impairment, incompetency, neglect of duty, drunkenness, malfeasance in office or other good cause.
(3) Not less than twenty reputable citizens engaged in oil and gas drilling and production operations in the state may petition the chief of the office of oil and gas for the dismissal of an inspector or the supervising inspector. If the petition is verified by at least one of the petitioners, based on actual knowledge of the affiant, and alleges facts which, if true, warrant the removal of the inspector or supervising inspector, the chief shall cause an investigation of the facts to be made. If, after investigation, the chief finds that there is substantial evidence which, if true, warrants dismissal of the inspector or supervising inspector, the chief shall bring the petition before the Oil and Gas Inspectors' Examining Board requesting dismissal of the inspector or supervising inspector.
(4) A level three grievance is a hearing before the board to consider the appeal of a level two grievance, the appeal of suspension or dismissal by the chief or a citizens' petition seeking dismissal of an inspector or supervising inspector. For any level three grievance, the chief may not preside over the hearing and may not vote. The remaining members of the board shall select a member of the board to serve as acting chair, who may not vote.
(5) An appeal of an inspector from a suspension or dismissal by the chief may be filed by the end of the tenth day following the suspension or dismissal notwithstanding the time limits and requirements set forth in article two, chapter six-c of this code.
(6) On receipt of an appeal of a level two grievance, an appeal of suspension or dismissal by the chief or a citizens' petition seeking dismissal of an inspector or the supervising inspector, the Oil and Gas Inspectors' Examining Board shall promptly notify the inspector or supervising inspector, as the case may be, to appear before it at a time and place designated in the notice, which time shall be not less than fifteen days nor more than thirty days thereafter notwithstanding the time limits and requirements set forth in article two, chapter six-c of this code. There shall be attached to the copy of the notice served upon the inspector or supervising inspector a copy of the appeal or petition filed with the board.
(7) At the time and place designated in the notice, the Oil and Gas Inspectors' Examining Board shall conduct a level three grievance proceeding in which the testimony shall be recorded to enable a transcript to be prepared for any further appeal. The board shall hear all evidence offered in support of the appeal or petition and on behalf of the inspector or supervising inspector. Each witness shall be sworn and a transcript shall be made of all evidence taken and proceedings had at any hearing. No continuance may be granted except for good cause shown.
(8) The acting chair of the board may administer oaths and subpoena witnesses.
(9) An inspector or supervising inspector who willfully refuses or fails to appear before the board, or having appeared, refuses to answer under oath any relevant question on the ground that the inspector's testimony or answer might incriminate the inspector, or refuses to accept a grant of immunity from prosecution on account of any relevant matter about which the inspector may be asked to testify at the hearing before the board, forfeits the inspector's position notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary in article two, chapter six-c of this code.
(10) If, after hearing, the Oil and Gas Inspectors' Examining Board finds that the inspector or supervising inspector should be suspended, dismissed or otherwise disciplined, it shall enter an order to that effect. An appeal of the decision of the board shall proceed as a level three proceeding under the provisions of article two, chapter six-c of this code.
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