The growth management hearings board shall be governed by the following rules on conduct and procedure:
(1) Any board member may be removed for inefficiency, malfeasance, and misfeasance in office, under specific written charges filed by the governor. The governor shall transmit such written charges to the member accused and the chief justice of the supreme court. The chief justice shall thereupon designate a tribunal composed of three judges of the superior court to hear and adjudicate the charges. Removal of any member of the board by the tribunal shall disqualify such member for reappointment.
(2) The principal office of the board shall be located in Thurston county, but it may hold hearings at any other place in the state.
(3) Each board member shall not: (a) Be a candidate for or hold any other public office or trust; (b) engage in any occupation or business interfering with or inconsistent with his or her duty as a board member; and (c) for a period of one year after the termination of his or her board membership, act in a representative capacity before the board on any matter.
(4) A majority of the board shall constitute a quorum for adopting rules necessary for the conduct of its powers and duties or transacting other official business, and may act even though one position of the board is vacant. One or more members may hold hearings and take testimony to be reported for action by the board when authorized by rule or order of the board. The board shall perform all the powers and duties specified in this chapter or as otherwise provided by law.
(5) The board may use one or more hearing examiners to assist the board in its hearing function, to make conclusions of law and findings of fact and, if requested by the board, to make recommendations to the board for decisions in cases before the board. Such hearing examiners must have demonstrated knowledge of land use planning and law. The board shall specify in its rules of practice and procedure, as required by subsection (7) of this section, the procedure and criteria to be employed for designating hearing examiners as a presiding officer. Hearing examiners used by the board shall meet the requirements of subsection (3) of this section. The findings and conclusions of the hearing examiner shall not become final until they have been formally approved by the board. This authorization to use hearing examiners does not waive the requirement of RCW 36.70A.300
that final orders be issued within one hundred eighty days of board receipt of a petition.
(6) The board shall make findings of fact and prepare a written decision in each case decided by it, and such findings and decision shall be effective upon being signed by two or more members of the regional panel deciding the particular case and upon being filed at the board's principal office, and shall be open for public inspection at all reasonable times.
(7) All proceedings before the board, any of its members, or a hearing examiner appointed by the board shall be conducted in accordance with such administrative rules of practice and procedure as the board prescribes. The board shall develop and adopt rules of practice and procedure, including rules regarding expeditious and summary disposition of appeals and the assignment of cases to regional panels. The board shall publish such rules it renders and arrange for the reasonable distribution of the rules. Except as it conflicts with specific provisions of this chapter, the administrative procedure act, chapter 34.05
RCW, and specifically including the provisions of RCW 34.05.455
governing ex parte communications, shall govern the practice and procedure of the board.
(8) The board must ensure all rulings, decisions, and orders are available to the public through the environmental and land use hearings office's web sites as described in RCW 43.21B.005
. To ensure uniformity and usability of searchable databases and web sites, the board shall coordinate with the environmental and land use hearings office, the department of commerce, and other interested stakeholders to develop and maintain a rational system of categorizing its decisions and orders.
(9) A board member or hearing examiner is subject to disqualification under chapter 34.05
RCW. The rules of practice of the board shall establish procedures by which a party to a hearing conducted before the board may file with the board a motion to disqualify, with supporting affidavit, against a board member or hearing examiner assigned to preside at the hearing.
(10) All members of the board shall meet on at least an annual basis with the objective of sharing information that promotes the goals and purposes of this chapter.
(11) The board shall annually elect one of its attorney members to be the board chair. The duties and responsibilities of the chair include developing board procedures, making case assignments to board members in accordance with the board's rules of procedure in order to achieve a fair and balanced workload among all board members, and managing board meetings.