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RULE §470.8Informal Disposition of Complaints

(a) Complaints.

  (1) Unless precluded by law, informal disposition may be made of any contested case by stipulation, agreed settlement, consent order, default, or dismissal in accordance with §2001.056 of the Administrative Procedure Act.

  (2) Prior to the imposition of disciplinary sanction(s) against a license, the licensee shall be offered an opportunity to attend an informal conference and show compliance with all requirements of law, in accordance with §2001.054(c) of the Administrative Procedure Act.

  (3) Informal conferences shall be conducted by the Chair of the Disciplinary Review Panel. The conference shall also be attended by the designated representative, legal counsel of the agency or an attorney employed by the office of the attorney general, and other representative(s) of the agency as the executive director and legal counsel may deem necessary for proper conduct of the conference. The licensee and/or the licensee's authorized representative(s) may attend the informal conference and shall be provided an opportunity to be heard and to present witnesses, affidavits, letters, reports, and any information deemed relevant for the Board's consideration in the matter. The licensee's attendance and participation is voluntary.

  (4) In any case where charges are based upon information provided by a person (complainant) who filed a complaint with the Board, the complainant may attend the informal conference. A complainant who chooses to attend an informal conference shall be provided an opportunity to be heard, at a time separate from the respondent, with regard to violations based upon the information provided by the complainant. Nothing herein requires a complainant to attend an informal conference.

  (5) Informal conferences shall not be deemed meetings of the Board and no formal record of the proceedings at such conferences shall be made or maintained. Any informal record of conferences shall be made by mechanical or electronic means at the discretion of the Committee Chair.

  (6) Any proposed consent order shall be presented to the Board for its review. At the conclusion of its review, the Board shall approve or disapprove the proposed consent order. Should the Board approve the proposed consent order, the appropriate notation shall be made in the minutes of the Board; and the proposed consent order shall be entered as an official action of the Board. Should no agreement be entered into, the Board may refer the matter to SOAH for a formal hearing.

(b) Confidentiality of Informal Settlement Conferences. The Panel may take any and all steps necessary to ensure the confidentiality of the informal settlement conference in accordance with §501.205 of the Act, including, but not limited to, conducting the entirety of the conference in executive session.

Source Note: The provisions of this §470.8 adopted to be effective December 2, 1999, 24 TexReg 10552; amended to be effective May 16, 2000, 25 TexReg 4352; amended to be effective October 1, 2000, 25 TexReg 9471; amended to be effective July 8, 2001, 26 TexReg 5006; amended to be effective July 9, 2002, 27 TexReg 6031

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