§ 5. Hearing Procedures  


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  • A. Appearances. An appellant may appear in person or may be represented by an attorney or by a duly authorized agent at a hearing. Any reference herein to the term "appellant" shall be deemed to be inclusive of appellant's attorney or authorized agent. In the event that the appellant fails to appear as scheduled before the Board and has not requested a continuance as set forth in Section 3 (B) above, then the Board, in its discretion, shall have the right to (i) continue the case until the next regularly scheduled hearing of the Board, or (ii) dismiss the case based on appellant's failure to prosecute the appeal. All persons wishing to appear before the Board shall sign in on a sheet provided by the Secretary and located at the entrance to the hearing room. The Board shall have the right to exclude testimony of anyone who has failed to sign in to the hearing.

    B. Burden of Proof. The burden of proof shall be on the appellant.

    C. Ex Parte Communication. Board members shall refrain from discussing official matters of the Board with the public or with any applicant outside of the regularly scheduled meeting of the Board. No applicant shall discuss any official matter of the Board with any Board member outside of the regularly scheduled meeting of the Board. A Board member shall immediately report to the City Solicitor any instances or attempts of bribery, intimidation, retaliation or obstruction of official business (as those terms are defined by Chapter 29 of the Ohio Revised Code), or any other instances or attempts of ex parte communication or influence by an applicant or any other party.

    D. Oath. All persons providing testimony before the Board shall be sworn by the Chair at the beginning of the hearing or prior to testifying. An attorney shall not be sworn unless the attorney is acting as a witness or providing testimony rather than acting as an advocate and providing argument.

    E. Decorum. It shall be the duty of the Chair to maintain decorum at all times during the hearing. Prior to testifying at a hearing before the Board, all persons appearing before the Board shall clearly state their first and last name and their personal address or business address for the record. All parties shall speak clearly into the microphone provided and shall refrain from speaking over other parties. No person shall be permitted to speak from the audience. The Chair shall have the right to expel any person exhibiting a lack of decorum or causing disruptive behavior from the hearing.

    F. Order of Appeals. Unless otherwise ordered by the Board, appeals shall be heard in the order set forth on the agenda prepared by the Secretary and distributed in advance to the Board members,

    G. Hearing Procedure. The order of business at a regularly scheduled hearing shall be as follows:

    1. The Secretary shall call the appeal being considered in the order set forth on the agenda.

    2. The Chair shall next ask the appellant if they would like to make a statement. The Chair may impose reasonable time limits on an applicant's statement. If there is more than one appellant, then the appellants may determine the length of time each appellant will have to present their arguments; otherwise, the Chair, in his or her discretion, will divide the allotted time, if any, evenly between or among the appellants. Upon the expiration of any allotted time limits, the Chair, in his or her discretion, may grant a time extension. The Chair may entertain discussion and input from the other Board members regarding any time extension.

    3. The Chair will next ask those Board members present whether they have any questions of the appellant.

    4. The Chair will then ask whether any member of the City staff has a statement.

    5. The Chair will then ask whether the representative of the Cincinnati Fire Department has any comments.

    6. The Chair will then ask if anyone else in attendance has any comments regarding the appeal.

    7. The Chair will then ask whether the appellant has any rebuttal comments.

    8. The Chair will then ask whether there are any further questions from the Board.

    9. The Chair will then entertain a motion. All motions shall be stated clearly and shall list any proposed conditions. All motions require a second by another member of the Board to be eligible for a vote.

    10. If a motion is eligible for a vote of the Board, the Chair shall request a vote in accordance with the rules set forth herein. If a motion is not seconded and is not eligible for a vote of the Board, the Chair shall entertain further discussion of the Board until a motion is made and seconded.

    H. Hearsay. The Board may refuse to consider hearsay testimony, which is any statement which was made outside of the hearing and is being offered as credible evidence to support or dispute any issue in the case. The Chair shall make the determination about whether hearsay evidence should be considered based upon the following factors: (i) whether an objection has been made to the Board to exclude the hearsay evidence; (ii) whether an objecting party has previously proffered hearsay evidence during the hearing which the Board considered; and (iii) whether the hearsay evidence is reliable and accurate. If any such evidence is refused by the Chair, if the party offering the evidence makes a proffer thereof, such proffer shall be made a part of the hearing record.