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WEST VIRGINIA CODE
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WVC 23 - 5 - 8 §23-5-8. Designation of office of administrative law judges; powers of chief administrative law judge.
(a) The workers' compensation office of administrative law judges previously created pursuant to chapter twelve, acts of the Legislature, one thousand nine hundred ninety, second extraordinary session, is hereby continued and designated to be an integral part of the workers' compensation system of this state. The office of judges shall be under the supervision of a chief administrative law judge who shall be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(b) The chief administrative law judge shall be a person who has been admitted to the practice of law in this state and shall also have had at least four years of experience as an attorney. The chief administrative law judge's salary shall be set by the workers' compensation board of managers. The salary shall be within the salary range for comparable chief administrative law judges as determined by the State Personnel Board created by section six, article six, chapter twenty-nine of this code. The chief administrative law judge may only be removed by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Workers' Compensation Board of managers. Upon transfer of the office of judges to the Insurance Commissioner, the chief administrative law judge shall continue to serve as chief administrative law judge until the thirty-first day of December, two thousand seven. Thereafter, appointments of the chief administrative law judge shall be for terms of four years beginning the first day of January, two thousand eight, and the chief administrative law judge may be removed only for cause by the vote of four members of the Industrial Council. No other provision of this code purporting to limit the term of office of any appointed official or employee or affecting the removal of any appointed official or employee is applicable to the chief administrative law judge.

(c) The chief administrative law judge shall employ administrative law judges and other personnel that are necessary for the proper conduct of a system of administrative review of orders issued by the Workers' Compensation Commission which orders have been objected to by a party. The employees shall be in the classified service of the state. Qualifications, compensation and personnel practice relating to the employees of the office of judges, other than the chief administrative law judge, shall be governed by the provisions of this code and rules of the classified service pursuant to article six, chapter twenty-nine of this code. All additional administrative law judges shall be persons who have been admitted to the practice of law in this state and shall also have had at least two years of experience as an attorney. The chief administrative law judge shall supervise the other administrative law judges and other personnel which collectively shall be referred to in this chapter as the office of judges.

(d) The administrative expense of the office of judges shall be included within the annual budget of the Workers' Compensation Commission and, upon termination of the commission, the Insurance Commissioner.

(e) The office of judges shall, from time to time, promulgate rules of practice and procedure for the hearing and determination of all objections to findings or orders of the Workers' Compensation Commission. The office of judges shall not have the power to initiate or to promulgate legislative rules as that phrase is defined in article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code. Any rules adopted pursuant to this section which are applicable to the provisions of this article are not subject to sections nine through sixteen, inclusive, article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code. The office of judges shall follow the remaining provisions of said chapter for giving notice to the public of its actions and the holding of hearings or receiving of comments on the rules.

(f) The chief administrative law judge has the power to hear and determine all disputed claims in accordance with the provisions of this article, establish a procedure for the hearing of disputed claims, take oaths, examine witnesses, issue subpoenas, establish the amount of witness fees, keep records and make reports that are necessary for disputed claims and exercise any additional powers, including the delegation of powers to administrative law judges or hearing examiners that are necessary for the proper conduct of a system of administrative review of disputed claims. The chief administrative law judge shall make reports that are requested of him or her by the workers' compensation board of managers.

(g) Effective upon termination of the commission, the office of judges and the board of review shall be transferred to the Insurance Commissioner, which shall have the oversight and administrative authority heretofore provided to the executive director and the board of managers.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
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