Separation of functions in hearing cases.
(a) This section applies after the initiation of a hearing or enforcement case by the Department.
(b) A DOT employee who is participating in a hearing case on behalf of an office that is a party, another DOT employee who is in fact reviewing the position taken, or who has participated in developing the position taken in that case, or, in cases involving accusatory or disciplinary issues (including all enforcement cases) such employees' supervisors within that office, shall have no substantive communication with any DOT decisionmaker, administrative law judge in the case, or other DOT employee advising them, with respect to that or any factually related hearing case, except in accordance with a published DOT rule or order. In addition, each bureau or office supervisor of a DOT employee who is participating in a hearing case on behalf of that office when it is a party shall have no substantive communication with any administrative law judge in the case, or DOT employee advising the judge, in that or any factually related hearing case, except in accordance with a published DOT rule or order. For each hearing case, bureau or office heads shall maintain a publicly available record of those employees who are participating or are in fact reviewing the position taken, or who have participated in developing the position taken in that case.
(c) In hearing cases involving fares or rates, or applications for a certificate or permit under 49 U.S.C. 41102 and 41302, or applications by a holder for a change in a certificate or permit, a supervisor who would not be permitted to advise the DOT decisionmaker under paragraph (a) may advise the DOT decisionmaker in the following manner: The supervisor's advice must either be made orally in an open DOT meeting or by a memorandum placed in the docket or other public file of such matter. Oral advice must be summarized in writing by the supervisor and placed in the docket or file of the matter. A copy of such written memorandum or summary of oral advice must be served on each party to the proceeding within 3 business days after such advice is given to the concerned DOT decisionmaker. Each of the parties may comment in writing on such advice within 5 business days after service or the summary. In no event, however, may a supervisor advise the DOT decisionmaker if he or she acted as the office's counsel or witness in the matter.
(d) In enforcement cases, the Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, under the supervision of the Deputy General Counsel, will conduct all enforcement proceedings and related investigative functions, while the General Counsel will advise the DOT decisionmaker in the course of the decisional process. The Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings will report to the Deputy General Counsel. To ensure the independence of these functions, this Office and the Deputy General Counsel, for the purpose of this section, shall be considered an “office” as that term is used in paragraph (a), separate from the General Counsel and the rest of the Office of the General Counsel.
[Doc. No. 82, 50 FR 2380, Jan. 16, 1985, as amended at 60 FR 43528, Aug. 22, 1995]