(A) Adjudication hearings may be conducted before the board, a board committee or a hearing examiner appointed by the board.
(B) The hearing examiner shall be licensed to practice law in Ohio and may be an employee of the board or an independent contractor.
(C) The board committee shall be composed of at least three board members, and one alternate, appointed by the board at a public meeting, to serve for a term of one year. One board committee member shall preside and be responsible for conduct of the hearing. The presiding board member shall also be responsible for approving the report and recommendation discussed in paragraph (F) of this rule. The board committee may request advice on legal questions from a staff attorney employed by the board, or an attorney with whom the board contracts as a hearing examiner, related to procedural or evidentiary questions or in preparation of the report and recommendation. This legal consultation shall not be deemed an ex parte communication.
(D) All hearings shall be open to the public, but the board committee or hearing examiner conducting a hearing may close the hearing to the extent necessary to protect compelling interests or to comply with statutory requirements. In the event this occurs, the board committee or hearing examiner shall state on the public record the reasons for closing the hearing.
(E) The board committee or hearing examiner shall conduct hearings so as to prevent unnecessary delay, maintain order and ensure the development of a clear record. The authority of the board committee or hearing examiner conducting a hearing includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(1) Administering oaths or affirmations;
(2) Ordering that subpoenas be issued or that depositions in lieu of live testimony be conducted;
(3) Examining witnesses and directly witnesses to testify;
(4) Making rulings on admissibility of evidence;
(5) Making rulings on procedural motions, whether such motions are oral or written;
(6) Holding prehearing conferences, as discussed in rule 4723-16-05 of the Administrative Code;
(7) Requesting briefs, before, during or after a hearing;
(8) Issuing scheduling orders for exchange of documents and filing deadlines;
(9) Determining the order of the hearing;
(10) Consolidating two or more matters involving the same respondent into one hearing;
(11) Preparing entries, proposed findings, and reports and recommendations to the board, as discussed in paragraph (F) of this rule; and (12) If the hearing is assigned to a board committee, reassigning the matter o a hearing examiner based upon a conflict in schedule, complexity of the issues involved, or for reasons of administrative efficiency.
(F) Within four months of the date an adjudication hearing is closed, the board hearing committee or hearing examiner assigned to the case shall submit a written report to the board setting forth the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, and a recommendation of action to be taken by the board. A copy of the written report shall be mailed by certified mail to representatives of record for both parties. Either party may, within ten days of receipt of the report and recommendation, file written objections. Written objections, if filed in a timely manner, shall be considered by the board in determining whether to approve, modify or reject the report and recommendation.
(G) At the board meeting next scheduled after the time for filing objections to a report and recommendation has passed, the board may approve, modify or reject the report and recommendation of the board committee or hearing examiner. Members of the board committee that heard a case shall abstain from voting on a matter heard as members of the board.