41-1092.01. Office of administrative hearings; director; powers and duties; fund
A. An office of administrative hearings is established.
B. The governor shall appoint the director pursuant to section 38-211. At a minimum, the director shall have the experience necessary for appointment as an administrative law judge. The director also shall possess supervisory, management and administrative skills, as well as knowledge and experience relating to administrative law.
C. The director shall:
1. Serve as the chief administrative law judge of the office.
2. Make and execute the contracts and other instruments that are necessary to perform the director's duties.
3. Subject to chapter 4, article 4 of this title, hire employees, including full-time administrative law judges, and contract for special services, including temporary administrative law judges, that are necessary to carry out this article. An administrative law judge employed or contracted by the office shall have graduated from an accredited college of law or shall have at least two years of administrative or managerial experience in the subject matter or agency section the administrative law judge is assigned to in the office.
4. Make rules that are necessary to carry out this article, including rules governing ex parte communications in contested cases.
5. Submit a report to the governor, speaker of the house of representatives and president of the senate by November 1 of each year describing the activities and accomplishments of the office. The director's annual report shall include a summary of the extent and effect of agencies' utilization of administrative law judges, court reporters and other personnel in proceedings under this article and recommendations for changes or improvements in the administrative procedure act or any agency's practice or policy with respect to the administrative procedure act.
6. Secure, compile and maintain all decisions, opinions or reports of administrative law judges issued pursuant to this article and the reference materials and supporting information that may be appropriate.
7. Develop, implement and maintain a program for the continuing training and education of administrative law judges and agencies in regard to their responsibilities under this article. The program shall require that an administrative law judge receive training in the technical and subject matter areas of the sections to which the administrative law judge is assigned.
8. Develop, implement and maintain a program of evaluation to aid the director in the evaluation of administrative law judges appointed pursuant to this article that includes comments received from the public.
9. Annually report the following to the governor, the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives by December 1 for the prior fiscal year:
(a) The number of administrative law judge decisions rejected or modified by agency heads.
(b) By category, the number and disposition of motions filed pursuant to section 41-1092.07, subsection A to disqualify office administrative law judges for bias, prejudice, personal interest or lack of expertise.
(c) By agency, the number and type of violations of section 41-1009.
10. Schedule hearings pursuant to section 41-1092.05 upon the request of an agency or the filing of a notice of appeal pursuant to section 41-1092.03.
D. The director shall not require legal representation to appear before an administrative law judge.
E. Except as provided in subsection F of this section, all state agencies supported by state general fund sources, unless exempted by this article, and the registrar of contractors shall use the services and personnel of the office to conduct administrative hearings. All other agencies shall contract for services and personnel of the office to conduct administrative hearings.
F. An agency head, board or commission that directly conducts an administrative hearing as an administrative law judge is not required to use the services and personnel of the office for that hearing.
G. Each state agency, and each political subdivision contracting for office services pursuant to subsection I of this section, shall make its facilities available, as necessary, for use by the office in conducting proceedings pursuant to this article.
H. The office shall employ full-time administrative law judges to conduct hearings required by this article or other laws as follows:
1. The director shall assign administrative law judges from the office to an agency, on either a temporary or a permanent basis, at supervisory or other levels, to preside over contested cases and appealable agency actions in accordance with the special expertise of the administrative law judge in the subject matter of the agency.
2. The director shall establish the subject matter and agency sections within the office that are necessary to carry out this article. Each subject matter and agency section shall provide training in the technical and subject matter areas of the section as prescribed in subsection C, paragraph 7 of this section.
I. If the office cannot furnish an office administrative law judge promptly in response to an agency request, the director may contract with qualified individuals to serve as temporary administrative law judges. These temporary administrative law judges are not employees of this state.
J. The office may provide administrative law judges on a contract basis to any governmental entity to conduct any hearing not covered by this article. The director may enter into contracts with political subdivisions of this state, and these political subdivisions may contract with the director for the purpose of providing administrative law judges and reporters for administrative proceedings or informal dispute resolution. The contract may define the scope of the administrative law judge's duties. Those duties may include the preparation of findings, conclusions, decisions or recommended decisions or a recommendation for action by the political subdivision. For these services, the director shall request payment for services directly from the political subdivision for which the services are performed, and the director may accept payment on either an advance or reimbursable basis.
K. The office shall apply monies received pursuant to subsections E and J of this section to offset its actual costs for providing personnel and services.