"On March 17, Governor J. Kevin Stitt issued Amended Executive Order 2020-07, declaring “an emergency caused by the impending threat of COVID-19 to the people of this State and the public's peace, health, and safety” and further directing all agencies to establish and implement a “remote work policy that balances the safety and welfare of state employees with the critical services they provide.”
Whereas, Section 19(E) of Title 85A authorizes the Workers' Compensation Commission Chair to "organize, direct and develop the administrative work of the administrative law judges", and, Section 27 describes the judges' own authority and duties over 85A-governed cases, I find nothing in statute to indicate the administrative law judges' ("ALJs") authority would be diminished by the agency's closure due to a public health crisis.
Therefore, out of concern for injured workers awaiting treatment, and all others who may be affected by the temporary interruption of operations of the Commission, and to ensure clarity and chain of authority, as Chairman of the Workers' Compensation Commission ("WCC" or "Commission") I hereby authorize all Commission ALJs to exercise their duties by remote means, if possible, for any legal processes deemed appropriate by the WCC Chief ALJ.
I further direct the Chief ALJ to develop a guide for ALJs as to those processes which will continue while the agency is closed, and also when the agency reopens in a limited capacity or circumstance."
Chairman Mark Liotta
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