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Internal Hearing Officer

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
31
Anybody use hearing officers from within the organization? For some nuisance codes, we can use the hearing officer concept, and I am thinking of naming myself to the position. Administratively, I am two levels over the enforcement officers. Yet I am a bit concerned about objectivity. BTW, there is no one else to do it.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
I used to work in a California county that used a hearing officer for enforcement cases. However, they were challanged in court because the Board of Supervisors appointed this person -- something about seperation of legislative and judicial functions. I don't know the result of the challange.
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
City I live in is just now doing the same thing. The City is tired of processing cases through the courts, since code enforcement would be simpler with a hearing officer. I know several cities here that have them, and I believe they are all planning staff members.
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
Peoria uses hearing officers for all code and housing code violations. It has been working well. PM me and I refer you to the correct phone number and department for details.
 

cololi

Cyburbian
Messages
1,185
Points
22
You should ask the city attorney about it. If there is no problem then you could probably do it. In Utah, most communities have gone to an administrative form of code enforcement with a hearing officer, but they are usually hired from outside the city. In our city the Mayor is the designated hearing officer.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
I think internal hearing officers are fairly common. The city Karen is working for now does it, and I have done it in the past. Unless there is something different in your enabling statute, I wouldn't hesitate to use it. Objectivity (not that such a thing actually exists) can be guarded by strict adherence to the code, using findings of fact and conclusions of law, etc.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Yes. We usually use a Finance Department employee as hearing officer.

I have to, in fact, attend a hearing today for a sign ordinance violation ticket I wrote. It was for one of those fly-by-night used car dealerships that set up shop temporarily in cities throughout the region. We have a strict sign ordinance, and the 20 foot tall purple inflatable gorilla was not "a permitted use" We also allow extra time for these sales if a nonprofit benefits from these sales. I did not believe him when he told me that it was the nonprofit that installed the purple gorilla :)

He is now claiming that the purple gorilla was "not a sign" :)
 

Queen B

Cyburbian
Messages
3,178
Points
25
Check the legislative restrictions. I believe that City's can have some type of enforcement system, it is the KS counties that have the inability to create a codes court unless there is a large population.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Queen B said:
Check the legislative restrictions. I believe that City's can have some type of enforcement system, it is the KS counties that have the inability to create a codes court unless there is a large population.
On this note, Planning and Zoning officials are lousy at lobbying for changes in state law. Legislation to change this in Kansas failed nearly a half dozen years in a row. Queeny, Mike, EG and I have eaten some fo the same dirt on this issue.
 
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