§ 1–606.01. Establishment of the Office of Employee Appeals; composition; qualifications; term of office; vacancies; Chairperson; quorum; appeal procedure; conflict of interest; compensation; appointment of employees; expenditures; removal; exclusivity of position.
(a) There is established an Office of Employee Appeals (hereinafter referred to in this subchapter as the “Office”). The Office shall be composed of 5 members to be appointed by the Mayor in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b) of this section within 60 days of the date this chapter becomes effective as provided in § 1-636.02. Members of the Office shall have demonstrated knowledge concerning personnel management or labor relations, and a reputation for impartiality and integrity in the discharge of their responsibilities. No member shall be eligible for reappointment.
(b) The term of office of each member of the Office shall be 6 years: Except, that: (1) Of those members first appointed, 2 shall serve for 2 years and 3 shall serve for 4 years, respectively, from the date of appointment; and (2) any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which his or her predecessor was appointed shall be appointed for the remainder of such term. No member may serve beyond the expiration of his or her term, except that a member serving a term of less than 6 years, who was appointed under clause (1) of this subsection, or a member who is appointed to serve the remainder of an unexpired term of three years or less, who was appointed under clause (2) of this subsection, may be reappointed for a full 6-year term. Appointments to fill vacancies shall be made in accordance with the provisions of subsection (a) of this section. The Mayor shall designate the term of each member at the time of his or her appointment.
(c) The Chairperson of the Office shall be designated by the Mayor. The Chairperson shall be the chief executive of the Office. The Mayor shall from time to time designate 1 member as Vice Chairperson of the Office. During the absence or disability of the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson shall perform the duties of the Chairperson.
(d) Three members of the Office shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of official business and the issuance of rules and regulations. The Office may hear appeals brought before it under this subchapter by a hearing examiner. An appeal from a decision of any such hearing examiner may be taken either to the full Office or to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia at the option of any adversely affected party. If an appeal is taken directly to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, the decision of a hearing examiner, for the purposes of such appeal, shall be considered as the final decision of the Office. If an appeal is taken from a decision of a hearing examiner to the full Office, the decision of the hearing examiner shall be stayed pending a final decision of the Office. Upon a vote of a majority of its members, the Office may hear de novo all issues of fact or law relating to an appeal of a decision of the hearing examiner, except the Office may decide to consider only the record made before such hearing examiner. A final decision of the full Office, relating to an appeal brought to it from a hearing examiner, shall be appealable to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Upon reviewing the final decision of the Office, the Court shall determine if it is supported by substantial evidence.
(e) If at any time any matter comes before the Office in which any member has any interest, directly or indirectly, other than as that of a taxpayer, the member shall publicly so state and this statement shall be recorded in the minutes of that meeting. The member thereafter is disqualified from participation in the consideration of the matter under deliberation.
(f) Each member of the Office is entitled to compensation at the rate of $125 per diem or $15.62 per hour whichever provides less, while actually in the service of the Office. Should a member serve in excess of 8 hours on a particular day, such member may be paid additional compensation for such period of service, to a maximum of 2 per diem payments for any consecutive 24-hour period. Adjustment to such rates of compensation shall be made in accordance with § 1-611.08(b), not to exceed the sum of $20,000 per annum.
(g)(1) The Chairperson of the Office shall appoint:
(A)(i) An Executive Director;
(ii) The Executive Director shall be a District resident throughout his or her term and failure to maintain District residency shall result in a forfeiture of the position;
(B) A General Counsel, who shall report to the Executive Director.
(2) The Executive Director shall report to the Chairperson and shall:
(A) Manage all agency operations and programs that support the work of the Office;
(B) Make all final decisions regarding the performance of the Office’s personnel, other than for the Executive Director and General Counsel, and fiscal management, general administrative support services, procurement, and contracts;
(C) Maintain the security of documents and claims; and
(D) Appoint other employees and make whatever expenditures are authorized to carry out the functions of the Office.
(3) The Office shall:
(A) Establish and maintain systems for the timely processing, recording, and control of cases;
(B) Maintain a data base system to record and provide information on the status and disposition of cases;
(C) Prepare and certify official records;
(D) Publish final decisions of the Office;
(E) Provide initial responses to Freedom of Information Act requests;
(F) Manage a formal system for the organization, maintenance, and disposition of Office records;
(G) Formulate and implement programs and policies that provide research assistance to the Office and the public; and
(H) Maintain an updated index of cases, to include among other things subject matter and outcome, to provide research assistance to the Office and the public.
(4) The General Counsel shall:
(A) Provide legal advice to the Office; and
(B) Assist in the enforcement of orders pursuant to § 1-606.09.
(h) The Office shall be considered an independent agency for budgetary and administrative purposes.
(i)(1) The Mayor may remove any member of the Office who engages in any activity prohibited by subsection (j) of this section, and appoint a new member to serve until the expiration of the term of the member so removed. When the Mayor believes that any member has engaged in any such activity he or she shall initiate an action, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of § 16-3521 et seq., to remove such member.
(2) Any vacancy occurring in the Office shall be filled within 45 days after the occurrence of such vacancy excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.
(3) The procedure provided for in subsections (a) and (b) of this section for filling a vacancy resulting from the expiration of a term of office shall be initiated at least 30 days prior to the expiration. If a vacancy occurs during a term due to removal, resignation or death of a member, the new appointee’s term of office is the remainder of the unexpired term. Appointment procedures for such new appointees shall be those provided in subsections (a) and (b) of this section.
(j) Any member of the Office who: (1) Violates the provisions of subsection (k) of this section; (2) engages in a conflict of interest in violation of the provisions of subchapter XVIII of this chapter; or (3) is convicted of a crime, which if committed in the District of Columbia would be a felony, which is by this or any other statute punishable by disqualification to hold office, in addition to the other punishment prescribed for such offense, shall be removed from office as provided in this section.
(k) No member of the Office may hold any other position in the District government or any subordinate position in the Office.
(l)(1)(A) Notwithstanding the provisions of Unit A of Chapter 14 of Title 2, the Executive Director shall use a ranking system based on a scale of 100 points for all employment decisions for positions within the Office, except for the positions of Executive Director and the General Counsel.
(B) An individual who is a District resident at the time of application shall be awarded a 10-point hiring preference over a nonresident applicant; provided, that the individual claims the preference. This 10-point preference shall be in addition to any points awarded on the 100-point scale.
(C) At the time of appointment, an individual who claimed the 10-point residency preference shall agree, in writing, to maintain District residency for a period of 7 consecutive years from the effective date of appointment into the position for which the individual claimed the residency preference.
(D) An individual who claimed the residency preference and who fails to maintain District residency for 7 consecutive years from the individual's effective date of appointment shall forfeit the individual's District government employment.
(E) Each applicant for a position covered by this paragraph shall be informed in writing of the provisions of this paragraph at the time of application.
(F) The Executive Director shall verify and enforce District residency requirements pursuant to § 1-515.04.
(2) The Office shall verify and enforce residency requirements applicable to the Executive Director and General Counsel pursuant § 1-515.04.
(3)(A) By November 1 of each year and pursuant to § 1-515.06, the Executive Director shall submit to the Mayor an annual report detailing, for the previous fiscal year, compliance with residency requirements.
(B) By November 1 of each year, the Office shall submit to the Mayor an annual report detailing for the previous fiscal year the Executive Director's and General Counsel's compliance with residency requirements pursuant to § 1-515.06.
(m) Hearing examiners employed by the Office of Employee Appeals shall be licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia.