Standards of Conduct for Hearing Officers
These standards apply to the hearings officers
who are appointed by Tribal Council pursuant to Section 13
of Ordinance 14 to serve in the Office of Administrative
Hearings (Hearings Office). The standards are designed to
promote honesty, integrity and impartiality in fulfilling
the duties assigned to the hearings officers by the Ordinance.
Impartiality. The Hearings Officers shall conduct hearings
in an impartial manner. The concept of Hearings Officer impartiality
is central to the administrative process created by Ordinance
14. A Hearings Officer shall hear only those matters in which
it is possible to remain impartial and even-handed. If at
any time a Hearings Officer is unable to hear a case in an
impartial manner, the Hearings Officer is obligated to withdraw.
Conflict of Interest. A conflict of interest is an involvement
or relationship which might create an impression of possible
bias or could reasonably be seen as raising a question about
impartiality. A Hearings Officer shall promptly disclose
all actual and potential conflicts of interest reasonably
known to the Hearings Officer and shall decline to hear the
case. If a Hearings Officer has a doubt about whether a conflict
exists, he or she shall recuse himself or herself in order
to preserve the integrity of the process.
The Hearings Officers shall guard against conflicts of interest
during and after the hearings. A Hearings Officer shall not
subsequently establish a professional relationship with one
of the parties in a related matter, or in an unrelated matter
under circumstances which would raise legitimate questions
about the integrity of the administrative process. A Hearings
Officer shall not establish a personal or intimate relationship
with any of the parties that would raise legitimate questions
about the integrity of the process.
Hearings Officers shall keep confidential all communications
and information pertaining to cases and
matters both while serving as a Hearings Officer and after
service. The Hearings Officer shall be bound by the Michigan
Rules of Professional Conduct and any professional or ethical
standards for attorneys established by the Tribe or the Tribal
Court regarding the duty to maintain the confidentiality
of information obtained in the course of performing duties
as a Hearings Officer.
Disparagement of Process or
Hearings Office. Since the acceptance
of the Hearings Office process by the tribal community depends
to a large degree on the reputation of the Hearings Officers
as being competent and fair minded, no Hearings Officer shall
disparage any other Hearings Officer, or the administrative
process, either while at work or during non work hours.
Quality of the Administrative Process. The Hearings Officers
shall conduct the hearings fairly and diligently. The Hearings
Officers shall work to ensure a quality process and to encourage
mutual respect among the parties. A quality process requires
a commitment by the Hearings Officers to diligence and procedural
fairness. Each party to a matter should be afforded a chance
to participate in and be heard at the hearing, call witnesses,
cross examine witnesses and present evidence.