(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section:
(a) If the presiding officer is the agency head or one or more members of the agency head, the presiding officer may enter an initial order if further review is available within the agency, or a final order if further review is not available;
(b) If the presiding officer is a person designated by the agency to make the final decision and enter the final order, the presiding officer shall enter a final order; and
(c) If the presiding officer is one or more administrative law judges, the presiding officer shall enter an initial order.
(2) With respect to agencies exempt from chapter 34.12
RCW or an institution of higher education, the presiding officer shall transmit a full and complete record of the proceedings, including such comments upon demeanor of witnesses as the presiding officer deems relevant, to each agency official who is to enter a final or initial order after considering the record and evidence so transmitted.
(3) Initial and final orders shall include a statement of findings and conclusions, and the reasons and basis therefor, on all the material issues of fact, law, or discretion presented on the record, including the remedy or sanction and, if applicable, the action taken on a petition for a stay of effectiveness. Any findings based substantially on credibility of evidence or demeanor of witnesses shall be so identified. Findings set forth in language that is essentially a repetition or paraphrase of the relevant provision of law shall be accompanied by a concise and explicit statement of the underlying evidence of record to support the findings. The order shall also include a statement of the available procedures and time limits for seeking reconsideration or other administrative relief. An initial order shall include a statement of any circumstances under which the initial order, without further notice, may become a final order.
(4) Findings of fact shall be based exclusively on the evidence of record in the adjudicative proceeding and on matters officially noticed in that proceeding. Findings shall be based on the kind of evidence on which reasonably prudent persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of their affairs. Findings may be based on such evidence even if it would be inadmissible in a civil trial. However, the presiding officer shall not base a finding exclusively on such inadmissible evidence unless the presiding officer determines that doing so would not unduly abridge the parties' opportunities to confront witnesses and rebut evidence. The basis for this determination shall appear in the order.
(5) Where it bears on the issues presented, the agency's experience, technical competency, and specialized knowledge may be used in the evaluation of evidence.
(6) If a person serving or designated to serve as presiding officer becomes unavailable for any reason before entry of the order, a substitute presiding officer shall be appointed as provided in RCW 34.05.425
. The substitute presiding officer shall use any existing record and may conduct any further proceedings appropriate in the interests of justice.
(7) The presiding officer may allow the parties a designated time after conclusion of the hearing for the submission of memos, briefs, or proposed findings.
(8)(a) Except as otherwise provided in (b) of this subsection, initial or final orders shall be served in writing within ninety days after conclusion of the hearing or after submission of memos, briefs, or proposed findings in accordance with subsection (7) of this section unless this period is waived or extended for good cause shown. The initial or final order may be served on a party via electronic distribution, with a party's agreement.
(b) This subsection does not apply to the final order of the shorelines hearings board on appeal under RCW 90.58.180
(9) The presiding officer shall cause copies of the order to be served on each party and the agency.
Finding—Severability—Part headings and table of contents not law—1995 c 347:
See notes following RCW 36.70A.470
Effective date—1989 c 175:
See note following RCW 34.05.010