Chapter 1.32


1.32.100    Purpose.

1.32.110    Office created.

1.32.120    Appointment, terms and compensation.

1.32.130    Removal from office.

1.32.140    Qualifications.

1.32.150    Hearing examiner pro tem.

1.32.160    Freedom from improper influence.

1.32.170    Conflict of interest.

1.32.180    Rules.

1.32.190    Powers.

1.32.200    Definitions.

1.32.210    Hearing before the hearing examiner.

1.32.220    Severability.

1.32.100 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish the authority and process for a hearing examiner system to provide prompt opportunity for a hearing and decision on violations of the Longview Municipal Code, and such other matters as may be assigned to the hearing examiner. (Ord. 3045 § 1, 2008).

1.32.110 Office created.

The office of hearing examiner (“examiner”) is hereby created. The examiner shall interpret, review and render decisions on contested/appealed violations as provided by ordinance and may perform other quasi-judicial functions as may be delegated by ordinance. The term “examiner” includes deputy examiner, examiner pro tem, or substitute examiner. The legal effect of the examiner’s decisions shall be an administrative decision appealable to the superior court. (Ord. 3045 § 1, 2008).

1.32.120 Appointment, terms and compensation.

The examiner shall be appointed by the city manager, subject to confirmation by the city council, to serve for a term of two years. Compensation will be as negotiated through contract between the city manager and the examiner. (Ord. 3045 § 1, 2008).

1.32.130 Removal from office.

The examiner may be removed from office at any time by the affirmative vote of a majority of the whole membership of the city council. (Ord. 3045 § 1, 2008).

1.32.140 Qualifications.

The examiner shall be appointed solely on the basis of qualifications for the duties of the office with special reference to training, actual experience in, and knowledge of administrative or quasi-judicial hearings on matters assigned to the examiner by ordinance and to discharge other delegated functions; provided, however, the examiner must be qualified to practice law in the state of Washington. The examiner will hold no other elective or appointive office or position in the City. (Ord. 3045 § 1, 2008).

1.32.150 Hearing examiner pro tem.

In the event of the absence or the inability of the examiner to act on a matter, a hearing examiner pro tem may be appointed by the city manager. Such appointment shall be from qualified applicants as set forth in LMC 1.32.140. Hearing examiners pro tem, when acting in such capacity, shall have all powers and duties of the examiner as prescribed in the Longview Municipal Code. (Ord. 3045 § 1, 2008).

1.32.160 Freedom from improper influence.

No person, including city officials, elected or appointed, shall attempt to influence an examiner in any matter pending before the examiner, except at a public hearing duly called for such purpose, or to interfere with an examiner in the performance of the examiner’s duties in any other way; provided, that this section shall not prohibit the city attorney from rendering legal service to the examiner upon request. (Ord. 3045 § 1, 2008).

1.32.170 Conflict of interest.

The examiner shall be subject to the same code of ethics as other appointed public officers in code cities, as set forth in RCW 35.42.020 and Chapter 42.23 RCW, as the same now exists or may hereafter be amended.

The examiner shall not conduct or participate in any hearing, decision or recommendation in which the examiner has a direct or indirect substantial financial interest, or concerning which the examiner has had substantial prehearing contact with proponents or opponents wherein the issues were discussed. This is not intended to prohibit necessary or proper inquiries on matters such as scheduling and procedure, but any such contacts are to be entered into the official record of the proceeding. Whenever possible, such inquiries and the responses to such inquiries shall be in writing.

The office of the examiner will be separate from and not a part of the department of community development. (Ord. 3045 § 1, 2008).

1.32.180 Rules.

The examiner will have the power to prescribe rules for the scheduling and conduct of hearings and on the procedural matters related to the duties of the examiner’s office, subject to the provisions herein. (Ord. 3045 § 1, 2008).

1.32.190 Powers.

The examiner shall have the authority to:

(1) Receive and examine available information;

(2) Administer oaths and affirmations;

(3) Issue subpoenas upon the examiner’s request or the request of any party. When so required, the applicant for the subpoena shall show to the satisfaction of the examiner the general relevance and reasonable scope of the evidence sought;

(4) Examine witnesses; provided, that no person shall be compelled to divulge information which he or she could not be compelled to divulge in a court of law;

(5) Examine evidence and rule upon offers of proof;

(6) Conduct discovery;

(7) Dispose of procedural requests or similar matters;

(8) Take official notice of matters of law or material facts;

(9) Regulate the course of the hearing in accord with this chapter and other applicable laws and rules;

(10) Prepare a record thereof, and enter written findings of fact and conclusions of law to support the examiner’s decision;

(11) Hold conferences for the settlement or simplification of issues by consent of the parties;

(12) Decide appeals of civil penalties as set forth in Chapter 1.33 LMC;

(13) Decide requests to remit civil penalties imposed;

(14) Consolidate hearings of appeals or requests to remit civil penalties when they cover the same occurrence or property.

(a) Remission or Mitigation of Civil Penalties.

(i) The examiner shall uphold and not remit a civil penalty if the city shows by the preponderance of the evidence that the appellant is liable under the provision that was violated.

(ii) The appellant may assert as an affirmative defense that extraordinary circumstances, such as the presence of information or factors not considered in setting the original penalty, justify the remission or mitigation. If the appellant shows by a preponderance of the evidence that this is the case, the examiner may remit a civil penalty. In no case shall the examiner have the authority to remit or mitigate a civil penalty below the minimum penalty set by resolution or ordinance;

(15) Take any other action authorized by or necessary to carry out this chapter and other applicable ordinances.

The above authority may be exercised on all matters for which jurisdiction is assigned to the examiner by city ordinance or code. (Ord. 3045 § 1, 2008).

1.32.200 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless a different meaning is plainly required, the definitions of terms herein shall be as set forth in LMC 1.33.110 as now in effect or as later amended. (Ord. 3045 § 1, 2008).

1.32.210 Hearing before the hearing examiner.

The procedures for a hearing before the examiner are as set forth in this chapter and Chapter 1.33 LMC as now in effect or as later amended and any other applicable law governing rules of procedure. (Ord. 3045 § 1, 2008).

1.32.220 Severability.

If any one or more sections, subsections or sentences of this chapter are held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portion of this chapter and the same shall remain in full force and effect. (Ord. 3045 § 1, 2008).