(1) Contested cases will be presided over and heard by a hearing officer appointed by name in the initial notice of hearing issued by the Office of Administrative Hearings.
(2) The hearing officer has general authority to regulate the course of contested cases, and may exercise those powers and authority provided by 2-4-611, MCA, including all powers and authority provided or implied by law.
(3) The hearing officer may establish prehearing and hearing dates and procedures, rule upon procedural petitions and motions, make procedural rulings and orders which appear necessary from the record, and otherwise regulate the conduct and adjudication of contested cases as provided by law.
(4) No ruling, order, decision, or exercise of the power and authority of a hearing officer is reviewable by the commission prior to the entry of the hearing officer's decision that resolves the complaint, except as otherwise provided in these rules or unless a manifest and irreparable injustice would result.
(5) The authority of a hearing officer terminates upon the entry of a decision on the merits unless the commission further delegates authority for other proceedings or exercise of authority.