1. Definitions. For purposes of this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
a. "Administrator" means the chief administrative law judge who shall coordinate the administration of the division.
b. "Division" means the administrative hearings division of the department of inspections and appeals.
2. The administrator shall coordinate the division's conduct of appeals and administrative hearings as otherwise provided by law.
3. a. The department shall employ a sufficient number of administrative law judges to conduct proceedings for which agencies are required, by section 17A.11 or any other provision of law, to use an administrative law judge employed by the division. An administrative law judge employed by the division shall not perform duties inconsistent with the judge's duties and responsibilities as an administrative law judge and shall be located in an office that is separated from the offices of the agencies for which that person acts as a presiding officer. Administrative law judges shall be covered by the merit system provisions of chapter 19A.
b. The division shall facilitate, insofar as practicable, specialization by its administrative law judges so that particular judges may become expert in presiding over cases in particular agencies. An agency may, by rule, identify particular classes of its contested cases for which the administrative law judge who acts as presiding officer shall have specified technical expertness. After the adoption of such a rule, the division may assign administrative law judges to preside over those identified particular classes of contested cases only if the administrative law judge possesses the technical expertness specified by agency rule. The division may charge the applicable agency for the costs of any training required by the division's administrative law judges to acquire or maintain the technical expertise specified by agency rule.
4. If the division cannot furnish one of its administrative law judges in response to an agency request, the administrator shall designate in writing a full-time employee of an agency other than the requesting agency to serve as administrative law judge for the proceeding, but only with the consent of the employing agency. The designee must possess the same qualifications required of administrative law judges employed by the division.
5. The division may furnish administrative law judges on a contract basis to any governmental entity to conduct any proceeding.
6. After July 1, 1999, a person shall not be newly employed by the division as an administrative law judge to preside over contested case proceedings unless that person has a license to practice law in this state.
7. The division shall adopt rules pursuant to this chapter and chapter 17A to do all of the following:
a. To establish procedures for agencies to request and for the administrator to assign administrative law judges employed by the division.
b. To establish procedures and adopt forms, consistent with chapter 17A and other provisions of law, to govern administrative law judges employed by the division, but any rules adopted under this paragraph shall be applicable to a particular contested case proceeding only to the extent that they are not inconsistent with the rules of the agency under whose authority that proceeding is conducted. Nothing in this paragraph precludes an agency from establishing procedural requirements otherwise within its authority to govern its contested case proceedings, including requirements with respect to the timeliness of decisions rendered for it by administrative law judges.
c. To establish standards and procedures for the evaluation, training, promotion, and discipline for the administrative law judges employed by the division. Those procedures shall include provisions for each agency for whom a particular administrative law judge presides to submit to the division on a periodic basis the agency's views with respect to the performance of that administrative law judge or the need for specified additional training for that administrative law judge. However, the evaluation, training, promotion, and discipline of all administrative law judges employed by the division shall remain solely within the authority of the division.
d. To establish, consistent with the provisions of this section and chapter 17A, a code of administrative judicial conduct that is similar in function and substantially equivalent to the Iowa code of judicial conduct, to govern the conduct, in relation to their quasi-judicial functions in contested cases, of all persons who act as presiding officers under the authority of section 17A.11, subsection 1. The code of administrative judicial conduct shall separately specify which provisions are applicable to agency heads or members of multimembered agency heads when they act as presiding officers, taking into account the objectives of the code and the fact that agency heads, unlike administrative law judges, have other duties imposed upon them by law. The code of administrative judicial conduct may also contain separate provisions, that are appropriate and consistent with the objectives of such a code, to govern the conduct of agency heads or the members of multimember agency heads when they act as presiding officers. However, a provision of the code of administrative judicial conduct shall not be made applicable to agency heads or members of multimember agency heads unless the application of that provision to agency heads and members of multimember agency heads has previously been approved by the administrative rules coordinator.
e. To facilitate the performance of the responsibilities conferred upon the division by this section, chapter 17A, and any other provision of law.
8. The division may do all of the following:
a. Provide administrative law judges, upon request, to any agency that is required to or wishes to utilize the services of an administrative law judge employed by the division.
b. Maintain a staff of reporters and other personnel.
c. Administer the provisions of this section and rules adopted under its authority.
9. The division may charge agencies for services rendered and the payment received shall be considered repayment receipts as defined in section 8.2.
10. Except to the extent specified otherwise by statute, decisions of administrative law judges employed by the division are subject to review by the agencies for which they act as presiding officers as provided by section 17A.15 or any other provision of law.
98 Acts, ch 1202, §3, 46
Referred to in §10A.106, 17A.11, 20.6, 216.15, 903A.1
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