There is hereby created a reclamation commission consisting of seven members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate. For the purposes of hearing appeals under section 1513.13 of the Revised Code that involve mine safety issues, the reclamation commission shall consist of two additional members appointed specifically for that function by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate. All terms of office shall be for five years, commencing on the twenty-ninth day of June and ending on the twenty-eighth day of June. Each member shall hold office from the date of appointment until the end of the term for which the appointment was made. Each vacancy occurring on the commission shall be filled by appointment within sixty days after the vacancy occurs. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which the member's predecessor was appointed shall hold office for the remainder of such term. Any member shall continue in office subsequent to the expiration date of the member's term until the member's successor takes office, or until a period of sixty days has elapsed, whichever occurs first.
Two of the appointees to the commission shall be persons who, at the time of their appointment, own and operate a farm or are retired farmers. Notwithstanding section 1513.04 of the Revised Code, one of the appointees to the commission shall be a person who, at the time of appointment, is the representative of an operator of a coal mine. One of the appointees to the commission shall be a person who, by reason of the person's previous vocation, employment, or affiliations, can be classed as a representative of the public. One of the appointees to the commission shall be a person who, by reason of previous training and experience, can be classed as one learned and experienced in modern forestry practices. One of the appointees to the commission shall be a person who, by reason of previous training and experience, can be classed as one learned and experienced in agronomy. One of the appointees to the commission shall be either a person who, by reason of previous training and experience, can be classed as one capable and experienced in earth-grading problems, or a civil engineer. Beginning not later than five years after the effective date of this amendment, at least one of the seven appointees to the commission shall be an attorney at law who is admitted to practice in this state and is familiar with mining issues. Not more than four members shall be members of the same political party.
The two additional members of the commission who are appointed specifically to hear appeals that involve mine safety issues shall be individuals who, because of previous vocation, employment, or affiliation, can be classified as representatives of employees currently engaged in mining operations. One shall be a representative of coal miners, and one shall be a representative of aggregates miners. Prior to making the appointment, the governor shall request the highest ranking officer in the major employee organization representing coal miners in this state to submit to the governor the names and qualifications of three nominees and shall request the highest ranking officer in the major employee organization representing aggregates miners in this state to do the same. The governor shall appoint one person nominated by each organization to the commission. The nominees shall have not less than five years of practical experience in dealing with mine health and safety issues and at the time of the nomination shall be employed in positions that involve the protection of the health and safety of miners. The major employee organization representing coal miners and the major employee organization representing aggregates miners shall represent a membership consisting of the largest number of coal miners and aggregates miners, respectively, in this state compared to other employee organizations in the year prior to the year in which the appointments are made.
When the commission hears an appeal that involves a coal mining safety issue, one of the commission members who owns and operates a farm or is a retired farmer shall be replaced by the additional member who is a representative of coal miners. When the commission hears an appeal that involves an aggregates mining safety issue, one of the commission members who owns and operates a farm or is a retired farmer shall be replaced by the additional member who is a representative of aggregates miners. Neither of the additional members who are appointed specifically to hear appeals that involve mine safety issues shall be considered to be members of the commission for any other purpose, and they shall not participate in any other matters that come before the commission.
The commission may appoint a secretary to hold office at its pleasure. A commission member may serve as secretary. The secretary shall perform such duties as the commission prescribes, and shall receive such compensation as the commission fixes in accordance with such schedules as are provided by law for the compensation of state employees.
The commission shall appoint one or more hearing officers who shall be attorneys at law admitted to practice in this state to conduct hearings under this chapter.
Four members constitute a quorum, and no action of the commission shall be valid unless it has the concurrence of at least four members. The commission shall keep a record of its proceedings.
Each member shall be paid as compensation for work as a member one hundred fifty dollars per day when actually engaged in the performance of work as a member and when engaged in travel necessary in connection with such work. In addition to such compensation each member shall be reimbursed for all traveling, hotel, and other expenses, in accordance with the current travel rules of the office of budget and management, necessarily incurred in the performance of the member's work as a member.
Annually one member shall be elected as chairperson and another member shall be elected as vice-chairperson for terms of one year.
The governor may remove any member of the commission from office for inefficiency, neglect of duty, malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance, after delivering to the member the charges against the member in writing with at least ten days' written notice of the time and place at which the governor will publicly hear the member, either in person or by counsel, in defense of the charges against the member. If the member is removed from office, the governor shall file in the office of the secretary of state a complete statement of the charges made against the member and a complete report of the proceedings. The action of the governor removing a member from office is final.
The commission shall adopt rules governing procedure of appeals under section 1513.13 of the Revised Code and may, for its own internal management, adopt rules that do not affect private rights.
Effective Date: 09-26-2003.
Related Legislative Provision: See 129th General AssemblyFile No.39, SB 171, §4 .