The TERO Commission shall serve as the hearing body for all appeals brought before them. Administrative hearings shall be held in accordance with the following procedures:
(A) Recusal by Commissioners. Any TERO commissioner who has a conflict of interest with respect to a complaint before the Commission shall disclose the conflict to the other Commissioners and be recused from participating in any matters related to the complaint. In the event that the TERO Commission loses a quorum due to conflicts of interest, the Commission shall request that the Tribal Council appoint one (1) or more disinterested individuals to make a quorum.
(B) Communication. Parties to an action before the Commission shall have no communication, written or otherwise, with members of the TERO Commission regarding their case. Any such communication shall be reported in writing to the Tribal Council, so that appropriate action may be taken, including disqualification of the party from participation in the proceedings.
(C) Review of TERO Files. Any party to an appeal shall have the right to review the case file by scheduling a visit to the TERO Office during regular working hours. The TERO Director shall have the right to redact proprietary information, the identities of confidential informants or other confidential information from the file.
(D) Disclosure of Witnesses. The TERO Director and all parties to the action shall provide to the other parties a list of witnesses no later than five (5) business days prior to the date set for hearing. A copy of the witness list, the approximate length of their testimony, the subject matter and relevance of their testimony shall also be included in this disclosure. Parties failing to provide this information shall be subject to sanctions by the TERO Commission. If the TERO Commission determines that additional witnesses are necessary, the TERO Commission will provide a list of the additional witnesses needed to all parties no later than two (2) business days prior to the date set for the hearing.
(E) Disclosure of Documents. The TERO Director and all parties to the action shall provide to the other parties a copy of all documents to be used at the hearing as soon as possible, but no later than ten (10) business days prior to the date set for hearing.
(F) Continuances. Any request for a continuance must be submitted in writing to the TERO Commission Chairperson no fewer than three (3) business days prior to the hearing. If all parties agree, a request for a continuance may be submitted at any time.
(G) Conduct of Hearings.
(1) Hearings shall be closed to the general public. Attendance shall be limited to the parties and their representatives;
(2) The Chair shall preside over the hearing and begin the proceedings by reading the allegations of the complaint into the official record;
(3) Witnesses shall be excluded from the hearing until such time as they are called upon to testify. Witnesses will be placed under oath by the Chair prior to testifying;
(4) The TERO Director and each party to the action may give an opening statement;
(5) The TERO Director and each party to the action may call witnesses and submit evidence in support of their position;
(6) The TERO Director and each party to the action will have an opportunity to cross-examine opposing witnesses;
(7) No party will be allowed to introduce evidence without first providing a foundational basis for that evidence;
(8) The TERO Commission need not strictly adhere to the rules of evidence, but shall strive to ensure that due process is afforded to all parties to the action;
(9) The TERO Director and each party to the action may give a closing statement;
(10) The standard of proof shall be by the preponderance of the evidence;
(11) The TERO Commission shall convene in closed session to deliberate. All Commissioners, including the Chairperson, will be entitled to vote on the appeal. The final order of the TERO Commission shall be made public.
(H) Legal Representation. It is the desire of the Tribe that disputes under this Act should, when possible, be resolved without the need for legal counsel. However, any party to the action may be represented by legal counsel at his or her own expense.