State of Washington Classified Job Specification
HEARINGS EXAMINER 1
Class Series Concept
The principal activity of the Hearings Examiner series is the conduct of quasi- judicial hearings and appeals within the framework of the Administrative Procedures Act and of administrative and procedural law.
Cases heard are usually generated by a license applicant or licensee, a benefits recipient or employer, or other party regulated by a state department whose administrative decisions they are trying to change.
The Hearings Examiner presides and renders decisions. The appellant, applicant or complainant is often represented by counsel; the responsible state department is represented by an Assistant Attorney General. If the appellant is not represented by counsel, the Hearings Examiner is responsible to assist him in clarifying the facts of his case during the hearing. Most Examiners are authorized to subpoena witnesses if they believe this is necessary to make the facts clear, though in most cases presentation of the case is left completely to the advocates.
Hearings Examiners ordinarily determine and report the findings of fact and conclusions of law, and issue proposed orders which are binding on all parties unless exceptions are filed shortly thereafter. Within this same series, higher level Hearings Examiners may review excepted cases, but their review (as the Superior Court's would ultimately be) is limited to the original hearing records, the findings, and the exceptions.
Cases heard within this series vary in complexity from the simplest uncontested cases, such as produce trucking applications, to the multiple-company utility rate hearings involving millions of dollars, many attorneys, expert witnesses, technical specialists in several fields and weeks of testimony. Among the various departments, hearings are conducted regarding: liquor license violations; industrial injury indemnities; unemployment and public assistance payments; employee taxes and premiums; rail, trucking, and utility franchises; transportation and utility rates; public complaints against regulated companies; and numerous related issues.
Positions in this class can usually be described as either the first three or the last three of the statements below:
- Cases usually are discussed with supervisor prior to hearing, and prior to the writing of finding of facts, conclusions of law, and proposed orders.
- Nearly all assigned hearings involve the direct interest of only one party and the department.
- Assigned hearings seldom involve more than one attorney for each participant and may often involve no attorney.
- Most cases handled are ex parte (uncontested) for which hearings may or may not be required.
Examines normally unprotested requests for authority to establish or remove railroad crossings, install or remove railroad safety devices, establish or extend temporary operating authority for produce, log, and dump trucks hauling specific commodities; investigates and determines if need exists and publishes findings and proposed orders;
Hears individual contested appeals throughout state or region regarding entitlement to public assistance, unemployment, or other benefits where most cases are discussed with supervisor on assignment and prior to issue of findings and orders; rules independently during hearings on issues of procedure, admissibility of evidence, etc.; such cases normally include: not more than one attorney each for the department and the appellant, the testimony of lay witnesses and department operating personnel, and financial benefits of several hundred, but usually less than three thousand dollars;
Conducts occasional hearings of cases typically handled at the Hearings Examiner 2 level;
Performs other work as required.
Knowledge and Abilities
Knowledge of: administrative, procedural, tort, and common law; rules of evidence.
Ability to: conduct fair hearings; make rulings on points of law and admissibility of evidence; determine credibility of witnesses; learn the specific body of law applicable to his/her field of assignment to include federal and state statutes, court decisions, and agency regulations; deal tactfully with people to gain their respect and confidence, exercise judgment in evaluating evidence and formulating decisions based on fact and law; write decisions and opinions clearly, concisely and accurately; supervise clerical assistants and court reporters; travel regularly within the state.
There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.
Admission to practice law in the State of Washington; or graduation from an accredited school of law and current admission to practice before the highest court of a state.
Note: Only attorneys who are active members of the Washington State Bar Association will be certified to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals or other departments where statutes so specify.
Class Specification History
New class adopted May 1, 1963.
Revised class: adopted June 12, 1964.
Revise class. Revises minimum qualifications; adopted June 1, 1965.
Revise class. General revision; adopted January 1, 1969.
Revise class. Revise class code (formerly 47200); adopted May 10, 2007. effective July 1, 2007.