(1) For purposes of this section, a hearing spike occurs when the number of claims ready for hearing on the last day of any calendar month exceeds by fifteen per cent the largest number of claims heard by full-time district and staff hearing officers in any of the preceding twelve calendar months. A hearing spike cannot occur for more than a total of six calendar months in any one calendar year.
(2) This section does not apply when the number of claims ready for hearing on the last day of any calendar month does not exceed or no longer exceeds by fifteen per cent the largest number of claims heard by full-time district and staff hearing officers in any of the preceding twelve calendar months.
(1) When a hearing spike occurs, the industrial commission may enter into personal service contracts with attorneys engaged in the practice of law in this state to serve on a temporary basis as district or staff hearing officers under Chapters 4121., 4123., 4127., and 4131. of the Revised Code.
(2) Before entering into personal service contracts as provided in division (B)(1) of this section, the commission first shall attempt to resolve the hearing spike by utilizing all current full-time employees and resources of the commission under the constraints of any current collective bargaining agreement, including the offer of overtime to current district and staff hearing officers.
(C) During the time when a hearing spike is in effect, the commission shall prepare monthly, written reports and shall submit those reports to the governor, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives certifying all of the following:
(1) All attempts to utilize full-time employees of the commission, including the offer of overtime to current full-time district and staff hearing officers, have failed to resolve the hearing spike;
(2) The number of personal service contract attorneys used by the commission, their names, and the actual number of hearings in each hearing category conducted by each personal service contract attorney in that calendar month;
(3) The amount of money paid by the commission to each personal service contract attorney for that month;
(4) Personal service contract attorneys have not been used for more than a total of six calendar months of the preceding calendar year.
(D) The commission's authority to enter into additional personal service contracts pursuant to division (B) of this section shall cease until the beginning of the next calendar year if the commission reaches its allotment of six calendar months during any calendar year for the use of personal service contract attorneys.
(E) If any party to hearing before a personal service contract attorney hired pursuant to division (B) of this section objects to a hearing before that attorney, the commission immediately shall transfer that hearing to the available docket of an appropriate full-time district or staff hearing officer.
(F) The commission may adopt rules pursuant to Chapter 119. of the Revised Code to administer this section.
Effective Date: 10-01-1996