(1) A hearing examiner shall be assigned to preside over a contested case proceeding before the department. An individual that was involved in the preliminary determination on the application shall not be assigned as hearing examiner. The department shall provide the hearing examiner with a complete copy of the department's file including all applications, correspondence, documents, notices, objections, petitions, and preliminary determinations.
(2) Consistent with law, the hearing examiner shall perform the following duties:
(a) regulate the course of the proceeding, including the scheduling, establishing deadlines, recessing, reconvening, and adjournment;
(b) hear and rule on motions;
(c) preside over the hearing;
(d) administer oaths and affirmations;
(e) maintain a complete record of the proceeding; and
(f) issue a decision or final order containing findings of fact and conclusions of law.
(3) Consistent with law and at the hearing examiner's discretion, the hearing examiner is authorized to perform the following duties:
(a) enter preliminary, interlocutory, and other orders deemed necessary;
(b) limit the scope of discovery;
(c) appoint a staff expert to issue a written report;
(d) question witnesses;
(e) issue subpoenas;
(f) enter rulings regarding the admissibility of evidence;
(g) request the submission of proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law;
(h) perform such other duties consistent with the authority provided for by law; and
(i) perform such other duties as may be delegated by the director.
(4) The authority of the hearing examiner terminates upon the entry of a decision or final order on the merits.