2011 Alaska Statutes
Title 23. LABOR AND WORKERS' COMPENSATION
Chapter 23.30. ALASKA WORKERS' COMPENSATION ACT
Sec. 23.30.007. Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission.
(a) There is established in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission. The commission has jurisdiction to hear appeals from final decisions and orders of the board under this chapter. Jurisdiction of the commission is limited to administrative appeals arising under this chapter.
(b) The commission consists of five members appointed by the governor and confirmed by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session. The members shall be appointed as follows:
(1) a member appointed as chair who meets the requirements of (c)(2) of this section;
(2) two members who meet the qualifications in (c)(1) of this section and, because of their employment or affiliations, may be classified as a representative of employees covered by this chapter;
(3) two members who meet the qualifications in (c)(1) of this section and, because of their employment or affiliations, may be classified as a representative of employers covered by this chapter.
(c) To be eligible for appointment under this section,
(1) a member must
(A) be a citizen of the United States;
(B) be a resident of the state for the five years preceding the appointment;
(C) have not been convicted of either a
(i) felony; or
(ii) misdemeanor related to workers' compensation; and
(D) have served for a total of not less than 18 months as a member of the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board;
(2) the chair must
(A) meet the criteria specified in (1) of this subsection, except for the requirement in (1)(D) of this subsection;
(B) be licensed to practice law in this state and be a member in good standing with the Alaska Bar Association; and
(C) have engaged in the active practice of law for at least five years with experience in workers' compensation in this state.
(d) An individual seeking appointment as a member or as chair shall submit an application to the chief administrative law judge appointed under AS 44.64.010 . The application must show that the applicant meets requirements in (c) of this section that are applicable to the position for which the application is submitted. For each vacant position, other than the chair, the chief administrative law judge shall select not less than two eligible individuals and submit the names of those individuals to the governor. For the chair, the chief administrative law judge shall select not less than three for submission to the governor.
(e) The term of service on the commission is five years. A member may be reappointed so long as the reappointment complies with the provisions of this section, including the application and appointment process described in (d) of this section.
(f) A vacancy arising in the commission shall be filled by appointment by the governor and confirmed by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session. Except as provided in AS 39.05.080(4), an appointee selected to fill a vacancy shall hold office for the unexpired term of the member whose vacancy is filled. A vacancy in the commission does not impair the authority of a quorum of members to exercise all the powers and perform all the duties of the commission.
(g) A member may act and receive compensation under this section from the date of appointment until confirmation or rejection by the legislature.
(h) The chair of the commission is in the exempt service under AS 39.25.110 and shall receive a monthly salary that is not less than Step A nor more than Step F of Range 27 of the salary schedule in AS 39.27.011(a) for Anchorage, Alaska.
(i) An appeal to the commission shall be heard and decided by a three-member panel of the commission. An appeal panel shall consist of the chair of the commission and two members of the commission assigned by the chair, one member classified as representing employees, and one member classified as representing employers. At other meetings to conduct commission business, the number of commission members classified as representing employees must equal the number of commission members classified as representing employers. The chair of the commission and two representative members of the commission, one classified as representing employees and one classified as representing employers, constitute a quorum.
(j) A member of the commission may be removed from office by the governor for good cause. To be removed for cause, a member of the commission shall be given a copy of the charges and afforded an opportunity to be heard in person or by counsel in the member's own defense upon not less than 10 days' notice. If the member is removed for cause, the governor shall file with the lieutenant governor a complete statement of all charges made against the member, the governor's findings on the charges, and the record of any proceedings. In this subsection, "good cause" includes
(1) misconduct in office or violation of AS 39.52;
(2) conviction of a felony;
(3) conviction of a misdemeanor related to workers' compensation;
(4) inability to serve, neglect of duty, incompetence, unjustified failure to handle the caseload assigned, or similar nonfeasance of office; and
(5) failure to continue to meet the requirements of this section relating to qualification for office.
(k) Representative members are entitled to compensation in the amount of 0 a day for each day spent in actual hearing of appeals or on authorized official business incidental to their duties, and to transportation and per diem as provided by law. Compensation shall be paid pro rata for each portion of a day spent in actual hearing of appeals or on authorized official business.
(l) A member of the commission may not hear an appeal under this chapter if
(1) a party is an employee or was, in the past seven years, an employee of the commission member or of a business that employs the commission member; this paragraph does not apply to the chair of the commission when the State of Alaska is or was the employer of a party;
(2) a party is a member or was, in the past seven years, a member of the same union or employee association as the commission member;
(3) a party has a contractual relationship with the commission member, a business that employs the commission member, or a union or employee association of which the commission member is a member;
(4) the commission member is unable to be fair, impartial, and unbiased toward the appeal participants; or
(5) participation in the appeal is a violation of AS 39.52.
(m) If the chair of the commission is unable to hear an appeal for reasons of absence or illness in excess of 10 days, or for reasons set out in (l) of this section, the chief administrative law judge appointed under AS 44.64.010 shall appoint a person who meets the qualifications of this section to serve as chair to hear the appeal as chair pro tempore. The person shall receive the compensation provided in (k) of this section. Appointment of a chair pro tempore does not require legislative confirmation.
(n) Each member of the commission, before entering upon the duties of office, shall take and subscribe to the oath prescribed for principal officers of the state. A member of the commission, during tenure, may not
(1) hold or campaign for elective office;
(2) be an officer of a political party, political committee, or group;
(3) permit the member's name to be used, or make any contributions whatsoever, in support of or in opposition to a candidate or proposition or question that appears on any ballot in the state including but not limited to that of a municipality; however, contributions may be made to a candidate for the office of President of the United States;
(4) participate in any way in an election campaign or participate in or contribute to any political party; or
(5) lobby, employ, or assist a lobbyist.
(o) The offices of the commission shall be physically separate from the offices of the division.
(p) Notwithstanding (e) of this section, the terms of the individuals initially appointed to the commission shall be as follows:
(1) the chair, five years;
(2) one member, four years;
(3) one member, three years;
(4) one member, two years;
(5) one member, one year.
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