Can I participate in writing?

Yes.  Submit statements at least 24 hours before the hearing starts.

What happens during the hearing?

The Presiding Officer introduces the participants and explains the procedures of the hearing. Hearings typically follow set formats and time limits. The PDC process is informal with most people effectively presenting their cases on their own.

PDC staff provides background information about the case. Then you may have an opportunity to present your side. Everyone takes an oath before providing testimony. The Presiding Officer might ask some questions about the information presented. The Presiding Officer also considers written information during the hearing.

The Presiding Officer adjourns the hearing if the case might have penalties above $1,000, so that it can be heard by the full commission. Only the full commission is able to assess penalties above $1,000.

What happens if I don't appear or submit a statement in writing?

The hearing will proceed as scheduled.  If you want to participate and cannot because of a scheduling conflict, tell the staff as early as possible.  It is possible that the hearing could be continued.

Who makes the decision?

The Presiding Officer makes decisions based on the information presented. Using penalty schedules from the related WACs the Presiding Officer determines an appropriate penalty amount. The Presiding Officer announces penalty amounts for the initial order. Mailing of the initial orders happens within 10 days.

In some cases, the Presiding Officer may use a different penalty schedule, based on PDC Rules, to determine the appropriate penalty.

What happens after the hearing?

Within two weeks you will receive an initial order, along with a cover letter explaining the Presiding Officer’s findings. The penalty check is made payable to the Washington State Treasurer, usually within thirty days.

Along with your initial order, you will also receive information about your appeal rights. This happens with a request for review by the full Commission.

Follow these procedures carefully if you wish to appeal. If there is no appeal before the Full Commission, the initial order becomes a final order. Superior Court handles any further appeals.