ORDINANCE NO. 643
AN ORDINANCE OF THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE
ESTABLISHING AND RELATING TO THE OFFICE OF
COUNTY HEARING OFFICER
The Board of Supervisors of the County of Riverside Ordains as Follows:
Section 1. AUTHORITY. This ordinance is adopted, and the Office of County Hearing Officer is hereby established pursuant to Government Code section 27720, et seq.
Section 2. DEFINITIONS. As used in this ordinance, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
a. Agency. The County of Riverside, or any agency, board, commission or committee thereof, including any local public entity which contracts with the County of Riverside pursuant to Section 17 of this ordinance.
b. County Hearing Officer. Any person as may from time to time be appointed by the Board of Supervisors pursuant to Section 4 of this ordinance.
c. Permit. Any authority, license, permit, privilege, right or other entitlement for use which an agency has granted or issued.
d. Party. The agency, the person or entity against whom the agency is proceeding and any person, other than an officer or employee of the agency, who has been allowed to appear or participate in the proceeding as an intervenor.
Section 3. DUTIES OF OFFICE. The duties of the Office of County Hearing Officer are to conduct those hearings specified in Section 4 of this ordinance.
Section 4. GENERAL AUTHORITY OF HEARING OFFICER. The Board of supervisors may, in its discretion, appoint a County Hearing Officer or Officers, and an agency may, in its discretion and with the approval of the Board of Supervisors, direct such an officer to conduct the following:
a. Permit denial, revocation and suspension hearings.
b. Disciplinary action appeal hearings in personnel matters; provided, however, that such hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of Ordinance No. 440 and the disciplinary review procedure resolutions adopted pursuant thereto as they now exist and as they may from time to time be revised or amended.
c. Section 8 Existing Housing Assistance Payments Program hearings; provided, however, that such hearings shall be conducted in accordance with 24 C.F.R. paragraph 882.216 (1987) and in accordance with procedures adopted pursuant thereto by the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of the County of Riverside as they now exist and as they may from time to time be revised or amended.
d. Disciplinary action appeal hearings in matters involving personnel of the Housing Authority of the County of Riverside; provided, however, that such hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the personnel policies and procedures of the Housing Authority of the County of Riverside as they now exist and as they may from time to time be revised or amended.
e. Any other proceeding when a state law or local ordinance provides that a hearing be held and that findings of fact or conclusions of law be made by any agency.
Once directed to conduct any of the above-referenced hearings, a County Hearing Officer is authorized to issue subpoenas, to receive evidence, to administer oaths, to rule on questions of law and the admissibility of evidence and to prepare a record of the proceedings as specified more particularly herein. An agency may, but need not be, present during any hearing.
Section 5. QUALIFICATIONS OF HEARING OFFICER. A County Hearing Officer shall be an attorney at law having been admitted to practice before the courts of this State for at least five (5) years prior to appointment.
Section 6. NOTICE OF HEARING. A County Hearing Officer shall deliver or mail a notice of hearing to all the parties at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing. To the extent that specific state laws or local ordinances set forth additional notice provisions, a County Hearing Officer shall also comply with such provisions.
Section 7. PRE-HEARING CONFERENCE. A County Hearing Officer may require that the parties attend a pre-hearing conference. At such conference, the issues shall be reviewed and the parties may be required to submit all documentary evidence and to designate which items may be introduced without objection. Documents may be admitted into evidence, and any not admitted shall be marked for identification. The parties may also be required to enter stipulations into the record as to those matters upon which they agree. Notice of a pre-hearing conference shall be mailed to the parties at least ten (10) days prior to the time set for the conference. The notice shall set forth the requirements of this section.
Section 8. CONTINUANCES. A County Hearing Officer may, upon a showing of good cause, grant a continuance of the pre-hearing conference or hearing to any party making such a request.
Section 9. SUBPOENAS. Before the hearing has commenced, a County Hearing Officer shall issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum at the request of any party for the attendance of witnesses or the production of documents at the hearing. After the hearing has commenced, a County Hearing Officer may issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum sua sponte or at the request of any party.
Subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum shall be issued and served in the manner prescribed by the Code of Civil Procedure.
All witnesses appearing pursuant to subpoena, except the parties and officers or employees of the parties, shall receive fees and mileage in the same amount and under the same circumstances as prescribed by law for witnesses in civil actions in a superior court. Witness fees and mileage shall be paid by the party at whose request the witness is subpoenaed.
Section 10. AFFIDAVITS. At any time, fifteen (15) of more days prior to a hearing or a continued hearing, any party may mail or deliver to the opposing party a copy of any affidavit which he or she proposes to introduce in evidence, together with notice as hereinafter provided. Unless the opposing party, within seven (7) days after such mailing or delivery, mails or delivers to the proponent a request to cross-examine the affiant, the opposing party's right to cross-examine such affiant is waived and the affidavit, if introduced in evidence, shall be given the same effect as if the affiant had testified orally. If an opportunity to cross-examine an affiant is not afforded after a request therefor is made as herein provided, the affidavit may be introduced in evidence, but shall be given only the same effect as other hearsay evidence.
The above-referenced notice shall be substantially in the following form:
The accompanying affidavit of (here insert name of affiant) will be introduced as evidence at the hearing in (here insert title of proceeding). (Here insert name of affiant) will not be called to testify orally and you will not be entitled to question him or her unless you notify (here insert name of proponent or his or her attorney) at (here insert address) that you wish to cross-examine. To be effective your request must be mailed or delivered to (here insert name of proponent or his or her attorney) on or before (here insert a date seven days after the date of mailing or delivering the affidavit to the opposing party).
As used in this section, affidavit also means declaration in accordance with Code of Civil Procedure section 2015.5.
Section 11. TESTIMONY; RIGHTS; EVIDENCE. Oral evidence shall be taken by a County Hearing Officer only upon oath or affirmation during the hearing.
Each party shall have the following rights during the hearing: to call and examine witnesses; to introduce exhibits; to cross-examine opposing witnesses on any matter relevant to the issues whether or not that matter was elicited or discussed during direct examination; to impeach witnesses regardless of which party first called them to testify; and to rebut unfavorable or negative evidence. If the party against whom an agency is proceeding does not testify on his or her own behalf, that party may be called and examined or cross-examined, and the party conducting the questioning is not bound by the testimony elicited.
The hearing need not be conducted according to technical rules relating to evidence and witnesses, except as hereinafter provided. Any relevant evidence shall be admitted if it is the sort of evidence on which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs, regardless of the existence of any common law or statutory rule which might make improper the admission of the evidence over objection in civil actions. Hearsay evidence may be used for the purpose of supplementing or explaining other evidence, but shall not be sufficient in itself to support a finding unless it would be admissible over objection in civil actions. The rules of privilege shall be effective to the same extent that they are now or hereafter may be recognized in civil actions, and irrelevant and unduly repetitious evidence shall be excluded.
Section 12. CONDUCT OF WITNESSES. If, during the hearing, any person disobeys or resists any lawful order, refuses to respond to a subpoena, refuses to take the oath or affirmation as a witness, thereafter refuses to be examined, engages in misconduct, or obstructs the proceeding, a County Hearing Officer shall certify the facts to the Superior Court of the County to initiate proceedings pursuant to Government Code sections 25173-25175.
Section 13. OFFICIAL NOTICE. In reaching a decision, a County Hearing Officer may take official notice, either before or after submission of the case for decision, of any generally accepted technical or scientific matter within an agency's special field, and of any fact which may be judicially noticed by the courts of this State. Parties present at the hearing shall be informed of the matters to be noticed, and those matters shall be noted in the record, referred to therein, or appended thereto. Any such party shall be given a reasonable opportunity on request to refute the officially noticed matters by evidence or by written or oral presentation of authority, the manner of such refutation to be determined by the County Hearing Officer.
Section 14. RECORD OF HEARINGS. A County Hearing Officer shall record the hearing with an electronic recording device. Any party may at his or her own expense provide for the taking of the testimony by a qualified stenographic reporter.
Upon payment of the requisite fees to an agency, that agency shall prepare a duplicate recording or a duplicate tape of the proceedings, a copy of any documentary evidence admitted at the hearing and any pleading, notice, order, recommended decision, final decision or other paper relating to the case.
Section 15. RECOMMENDED DECISION. Upon conclusion of the hearing, a County Hearing Officer shall prepare for an agency's consideration:
a. A record of the hearing, including all documentary evidence and either a transcript of oral testimony or a summary of oral testimony.
b. Recommended findings of fact.
c. Recommended conclusions of law.
d. Recommended decision.
A County Hearing Officer shall submit the original copies of the record and the recommendations to the clerk of the appropriate agency, and shall also serve a copy of the recommendations upon all parties. If any party is represented by an attorney, the attorney shall be served.
Section 16. AGENCY ACTION. Upon receiving the record and recommendations of a County Hearing Officer, an agency may, in its discretion, take action thereon without a hearing or may schedule a hearing for the purpose of hearing oral argument from the parties. At the conclusion of the hearing, an agency may take action or may take the matter under submission for later decision.
An agency may issue its decision without further hearing or notice to the parties and shall serve a copy of the decision upon the parties and their attorneys if the parties are so represented. An agency may reopen the matter if not satisfied with the record and may order further proceedings, refer the matter to the same or a different County Hearing Officer, or hear additional evidence without a County Hearing Officer. Any hearing after reopening shall be conducted on notice to any party not present before the agency at the time of reopening.
In its decision an agency may:
a. Adopt the recommendations of a County Hearing Officer;
b. Adopt the recommendations in part; or
c. Reject the recommendations and enter its own findings of fact, conclusions of law and decision based upon the record and any further proceedings before the agency, if any.
Section 17. APPLICABILITY TO LOCAL ENTITIES. Any local public entity within the County of Riverside may contract with the County to employ the services of a County Hearing Officer. The duties and responsibilities of a County Hearing Officer described in Government Code sections 27721 and 27722 shall be set forth in the contract. Reimbursement to the County shall, unless otherwise specified in the contract, be made on a pro rata basis of actual cost to the County in providing the service, including salaries, benefits, overhead and any travel expense. An agency contracting with the County under this section is authorized to conduct its hearings in accordance with this ordinance. If an agency has adopted its own rules of procedure, however, such rules may instead be followed.
Section 18. STATE HEARING OFFICER. Pursuant to Government Code section 27727, the County of Riverside may contract with the Office of Administrative Hearings of the State of California for the purpose of securing an Administrative Law Judge or a State Hearing Officer to conduct proceedings pursuant to and in accordance with this ordinance.
Section 19. EFFECT ON EXISTING LAW. The provisions of this ordinance constitute an alternative to, and do not supersede, any other provision of law specifying that any matter may be heard or determined by a hearing officer.
Section 20. VALIDITY. This ordinance and the various parts, sections and clauses thereof are hereby declared to be severable. If any part, sentence, paragraph, section or clause is adjudged unconstitutional or invalid, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected thereby. If any part, sentence, paragraph, section or clause of this ordinance, or its application to any person or entity is adjudged unconstitutional or invalid, such unconstitutionality or invalidity shall affect only such part, sentence, paragraph, section or clause of this ordinance, or person or entity; and shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions, parts, sentences, paragraphs, sections or clauses of this ordinance, or its application to other persons or entities. The Board of Supervisors hereby declares that this ordinance would have been adopted had such unconstitutional or invalid part, sentence, paragraph, section or clause of this ordinance not been included herein; or had such person or entity been expressly exempted from the application of this ordinance.
ADOPTED: 09-26-89 (Eff.: 10-26-89)