Work Comp Act Section 14

(820 ILCS 305/14) (from Ch. 48, par. 138.14)

Sec. 14. The Commission shall appoint a secretary, an assistant secretary, and arbitrators and shall employ such assistants and clerical help as may be necessary. Arbitrators shall be appointed pursuant to this Section, notwithstanding any provision of the Personnel Code.

Each arbitrator appointed after June 28, 2011 shall be required to demonstrate in writing his or her knowledge of and expertise in the law of and judicial processes of the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Occupational Diseases Act.

A formal training program for newly-hired arbitrators shall be implemented. The training program shall include the following:

(a) substantive and procedural aspects of the arbitrator position;

(b) current issues in workers’ compensation law and practice;

(c) medical lectures by specialists in areas such as orthopedics, ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation counseling;

(d) orientation to each operational unit of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission;

(e) observation of experienced arbitrators conducting hearings of cases, combined with the opportunity to discuss evidence presented and rulings made;

(f) the use of hypothetical cases requiring the trainee to issue judgments as a means to evaluating knowledge and writing ability;

(g) writing skills;

(h) professional and ethical standards pursuant to Section 1.1 of this Act;

(i) detection of workers’ compensation fraud and reporting obligations of Commission employees and appointees;

(j) standards of evidence-based medical treatment and best practices for measuring and improving quality and health care outcomes in the workers’ compensation system, including but not limited to the use of the American Medical Association’s “Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment” and the practice of utilization review; and

(k) substantive and procedural aspects of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (black lung) cases.

A formal and ongoing professional development program including, but not limited to, the above-noted areas shall be implemented to keep arbitrators informed of recent developments and issues and to assist them in maintaining and enhancing their professional competence. Each arbitrator shall complete 20 hours of training in the above-noted areas during every 2 years such arbitrator shall remain in office.

Each arbitrator shall devote full time to his or her duties and shall serve when assigned as an acting Commissioner when a Commissioner is unavailable in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of this Act. Any arbitrator who is an attorney-at-law shall not engage in the practice of law, nor shall any arbitrator hold any other office or position of profit under the United States or this State or any municipal corporation or political subdivision of this State. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act to the contrary, an arbitrator who serves as an acting Commissioner in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of this Act shall continue to serve in the capacity of Commissioner until a decision is reached in every case heard by that arbitrator while serving as an acting Commissioner.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, the term of all arbitrators serving on the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly, including any arbitrators on administrative leave, shall terminate at the close of business on July 1, 2011, but the incumbents shall continue to exercise all of their duties until they are reappointed or their successors are appointed.

On and after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly, arbitrators shall be appointed to 3-year terms as follows:

(1) All appointments shall be made by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(2) For their initial appointments, 12 arbitrators shall be appointed to terms expiring July 1, 2012; 12 arbitrators shall be appointed to terms expiring July 1, 2013; and all additional arbitrators shall be appointed to terms expiring July 1, 2014. Thereafter, all arbitrators shall be appointed to 3-year terms.

Upon the expiration of a term, the Chairman shall evaluate the performance of the arbitrator and may recommend to the Governor that he or she be reappointed to a second or subsequent term by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Each arbitrator appointed on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly and who has not previously served as an arbitrator for the Commission shall be required to be authorized to practice law in this State by the Supreme Court, and to maintain this authorization throughout his or her term of employment.

The performance of all arbitrators shall be reviewed by the Chairman on an annual basis. The Chairman shall allow input from the Commissioners in all such reviews.

The Commission shall assign no fewer than 3 arbitrators to each hearing site. The Commission shall establish a procedure to ensure that the arbitrators assigned to each hearing site are assigned cases on a random basis. No arbitrator shall hear cases in any county, other than Cook County, for more than 2 years in each 3-year term.

The Secretary and each arbitrator shall receive a per annum salary of $4,000 less than the per annum salary of members of The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission as provided in Section 13 of this Act, payable in equal monthly installments.

The members of the Commission, Arbitrators and other employees whose duties require them to travel, shall have reimbursed to them their actual traveling expenses and disbursements made or incurred by them in the discharge of their official duties while away from their place of residence in the performance of their duties.

The Commission shall provide itself with a seal for the authentication of its orders, awards and proceedings upon which shall be inscribed the name of the Commission and the words “Illinois—Seal.”

The Secretary or Assistant Secretary, under the direction of the Commission, shall have charge and custody of the seal of the Commission and also have charge and custody of all records, files, orders, proceedings, decisions, awards and other documents on file with the Commission. He shall furnish certified copies, under the seal of the Commission, of any such records, files, orders, proceedings, decisions, awards and other documents on file with the Commission as may be required. Certified copies so furnished by the Secretary or Assistant Secretary shall be received in evidence before the Commission or any Arbitrator thereof, and in all courts, provided that the original of such certified copy is otherwise competent and admissible in evidence. The Secretary or Assistant Secretary shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed from time to time by the Commission

(Source: P.A. 97-18, eff. 6-28-11; 97-719, eff. 6-29-12; 98-40, eff. 6-28-13.)

Sec. 14.1. There is created a Commission Review Board consisting of the Chairman of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, the Commissioner with the most seniority who is a representative citizen of the class of employees covered under this Act, the Commissioner with the most seniority who is a representative citizen of the employing class operating under this Act, two Arbitrators, one assigned to hear cases filed in counties with a population of 3,000,000 or more and one assigned to hear cases in any other county, both selected by a vote of a majority of the appointed Arbitrators pursuant to an election conducted by the Chairman, and 2 members designated by the Governor who are not commissioners, Arbitrators or employees of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Members of the Board shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred. All appointments for the initial terms shall be made and elections concluded by October 1, 1984, with each initial term commencing on October 1, 1984 and extending through February 28, 1987, until the office holder’s successor is appointed or elected and qualified. Thereafter each term shall commence on March 1 of each odd-numbered year and extend through March 1 of the next succeeding odd-numbered year, until the office holder’s successor is appointed or elected and qualified. The Governor shall certify his appointments, and the Chairman shall certify the results of the elections by the Arbitrators, to the Secretary of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. A vacancy in the office of a member of the Commission Review Board shall be filled for the remainder of the vacating member’s term in the same manner as that in which the member was appointed or elected.

The Chairman of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission shall serve as the Chairman of the Commission Review Board. It shall be the duty of the Chairman to compile, audit, and retain complaints registered against Commissioners and Arbitrators. The Chairman shall immediately advise a Commissioner or Arbitrator in writing of the nature of any and all complaints filed against him, preserving the identity of the complainant.

At a proceeding before the Commission Review Board, it shall then become the duty of any complainant to testify regarding his or her previously filed complaint, or said complaint shall be considered null and void.

The Commission Review Board shall advise any Commissioner or Arbitrator in writing of necessary remedial action to correct any deficiency and shall afford said individual the opportunity to report or respond to a complaint within a prescribed period of time.

In matters of serious concern to the State, the Commission Review Board may recommend that the Governor: 1) dismiss any Arbitrator who is found unfit to serve; or 2) not reappoint a Commissioner who it finds unfit to serve. This action shall require a record vote of at least 5 members of the Board. The Governor, in his discretion, may act on the recommendation of the Commission Review Board.

(Source: P.A. 93-721, eff. 1-1-05.)

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