303.234 Initial decision; final decision.
(a) The Hearing Official or Hearing Panel prepares an initial written decision that addresses each of the points in the notice sent by the Secretary to the lead agency under §303.231, including any amendments to or further clarification of the issues under §303.233(c).
(b) The initial decision of a Hearing Panel is made by a majority of Hearing Panel members.
(c) The Hearing Official or Hearing Panel mails, by certified mail with return receipt requested, a copy of the initial decision to each party (or to the party’s counsel) and to the Secretary, with a notice stating that each party has an opportunity to submit written comments regarding the decision to the Secretary.
(d) Each party may file comments and recommendations on the initial decision with the Hearing Official or Hearing Panel within 15 days of the date the party receives the Panel’s decision.
(e) The Hearing Official or Hearing Panel sends a copy of a party’s initial comments and recommendations to the other parties by certified mail with return receipt requested. Each party may file responsive comments and recommendations with the Hearing Official or Hearing Panel within seven days of the date the party receives the initial comments and recommendations.
(f) The Hearing Official or Hearing Panel forwards the parties’ initial and responsive comments on the initial decision to the Secretary who reviews the initial decision and issues a final decision.
(g) The initial decision of the Hearing Official or Hearing Panel becomes the final decision of the Secretary unless, within 25 days after the end of the time for receipt of written comments, the Secretary informs the Hearing Official or Hearing Panel and the parties to a hearing in writing that the decision is being further reviewed for possible modification.
(h) The Secretary rejects or modifies the initial decision of the Hearing Official or Hearing Panel if the Secretary finds that it is clearly erroneous.
(i) The Secretary conducts the review based on the initial decision, the written record, the transcript of the Hearing Official’s or Hearing Panel’s proceedings, and written comments.
(j) The Secretary may remand the matter to the Hearing Official or Hearing Panel for further proceedings.
(k) Unless the Secretary remands the matter as provided in paragraph (j) of this section, the Secretary issues the final decision, with any necessary modifications, within 30 days after notifying the Hearing Official or Hearing Panel that the initial decision is being further reviewed.
Last modified on May 3, 2017