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Frequently Asked Questions

Hearings

What is a prehearing conference?

The Commission schedules a prehearing conference before a hearing. The prehearing conference is attended by the Administrative Hearing Officer, the parties and their representatives (if any). It is not open to the public. The prehearing conference is an opportunity to clarify, isolate, and dispose of procedural issues with the Administrative Hearing Officer.

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What are my responsibilities at the prehearing conference?

At the prehearing conference each party provides a copy of the following documents to the Administrative Hearing Officer and each other party:

  1. A statement of the case including stipulations and requested remedies;
  2. A list of witnesses the party expects to call at the hearing who have direct knowledge of the issues in dispute;
  3. A list of the names and addresses of witnesses the party seeks to subpoena, including a brief description of the testimony each witness will offer;
  4. A list of exhibits and documents the party expects to introduce at the hearing, including a copy of each if available; and
  5. A description of party's discovery requirements. (Discovery must be completed in the prehearing conference; afterwards discovery is conducted only when approved by the Administrative Hearing Office.)

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What is a hearing?

A hearing is a formal proceeding controlled by the Administrative Hearing Officer. Each side has an opportunity to present testimony and evidence to support their case?and to ask questions of the other side. The hearing is attended by the Administrative Hearing Officer, the parties and their representatives (if any). It is open to the public. A party may introduce witnesses and exhibits only with the approval of the Administrative Hearing Officer.

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May I be represented at the prehearing conference and hearing?

Yes. Each party may have a representative who has knowledge of the case, has authority to negotiate settlement, and is willing and available to serve. The representative need not be an attorney. The representative must be identified on the petition for appeal or an entry of appearance must be filed.

If someone represents you, you are bound by the acts and omissions of your representative. Therefore, you should carefully consider selection of a representative.

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How does the Administrative Hearing Officer decide cases and who has the burden of proof?

Administrative Hearing Officers decide cases based on a preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence means information or evidence that is more convincing or believable than the information or evidence offered in opposition.

In cases of adverse action (discharge, suspension without pay and involuntary demotion), the burden of proof rests with the appointing authority.

In cases of alleged violations of the Oklahoma Personnel Act or Merit Rules, the burden of proof rests with the Appellant.

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How do I request a continuance?

You must file a written request for continuance with the Commission at least five calendar days before the prehearing conference or hearing date. You must identify your specific needs for the continuance. You should contact each other party before requesting a continuance and include a statement of each's concurrence or nonconcurrence with your request.

If the continuance is granted at the appellant's request and if sustained in the appeal, the appellant is awarded back pay and other benefits only for the period of time he or she did not delay the prehearing conference or hearing.

If the continuance is granted at the request of the Appointing Authority and if the Appellant is sustained in the appeal, the appellant is awarded back pay and other benefits for the entire judgment awarded by the Administrative Hearing Officer.

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After the hearing, when can I expect a decision?

The Administrative Hearing Officer files the final decision with the Commission within 10 calendar days after closing the record. The Commission issues the final decision to each party by certified mail or personal service within five calendar days after receiving the decision.

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What can I do if I disagree with the final decision?

A party may petition the Commissioners to order rehearing, reopening or reconsideration of the decision if adversely affected by the final decision.

  1. The request must be filed with the Commission within 10 calendar days after the issue date of the final decision;
  2. A copy of the request must be served on each other party;
  3. The request must identify the specific provision of Section 317 of Title 75 of the Oklahoma Statutes under which the request is filed; and
  4. The request must include any new evidence and verification that such evidence is true.

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Where can I get more information about hearings?

Read the following material:

Contact the Oklahoma Merit Protection Commission by:

  • E-mail
  • Telephone: (405) 525-9144
  • Regular mail:

    Oklahoma Merit Protection Commission
    3545 NW 58th Street, Suite 360
    Oklahoma City, OK 73105


Copyright ? 2001-2006 Oklahoma Merit Protection Commission
3545 NW 58th Street, Suite 360   (map)
Oklahoma City, OK  73112
Voice:  (405) 525-9144
Fax:  (405) 528-6245

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