Guidelines for Reviewing the Qualifications of Judicial Candidates
(Revised: August, 2004)
As the Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Advisory Council is charged with reviewing the qualifications of candidates for the position of administrative judge and administrative law judge at the Division of Industrial Accidents, the following guidelines are adopted to assist the Council in evaluating and rating candidates.
A. Information Distribution: Any information regarding a candidate, compiled by the Industrial Accident Nominating Panel, that is transmitted to the Advisory Council will be mailed, faxed, or delivered to the Advisory Council members. In the event this information cannot be provided to the Advisory Council members before an interview takes place, it will be provided at the interview.
B. Paper Review - Sitting Judges: Sitting Judges, seeking reappointment or appointment to a new position, who receive a favorable recommendation from the Senior Judge, will not be required to formally interview before the Council. The Advisory Council will vote on the qualifications of these Judges by reviewing any information provided by the Industrial Accident Nominating Panel. However, the Chair may, in his discretion or upon a vote of the majority of the Council members, require a sitting Judge to appear before the Council for an interview.
C. Paper Review - Nomination Pool Candidates: Any candidate who is currently serving in the Nomination Pool and reapplies for a judgeship will not be required to formally interview before the Council. The Advisory Council will vote on the qualifications of these candidates by reviewing any information provided by the Industrial Accident Nominating Panel. However, the Chair may, in his discretion or upon a vote of the majority of the Council members, require a Nomination Pool candidate to appear before the Council for an interview.
D. Interview Notification to Candidates: All other candidates, not mentioned in (B) or (C), will be formally interviewed by the Advisory Council. Said candidates will be notified by the Executive Director by telephone regarding the date, time, and location of the interviews.
E. Advisory Council Interviews: The Council will convene in Executive Session for the interview process. Each candidate must be prompt for their scheduled interview time. Each candidate will be allotted no more than 15 minutes for their interview. Council members will use nameplates for identification purposes and will forego introducing themselves to each candidate. The Chair will ask the candidates to briefly introduce themselves, state their qualifications, and their reasons for seeking the position. Upon recognition of the Chair, both voting and non-voting members may ask questions of the candidates. Council members will use discretion in limiting questioning to the most pertinent concerns.
F. Voting Procedure: Upon determining a candidate's qualifications, pursuant to section 9 of chapter 23E, council members shall make a clear distinction of those candidates who have never served on the Industrial Accident Board, from those who are Sitting Judges, seeking reappointment or appointment to a new position. In conjunction with the Advisory Council's findings, it shall be noted that the judicial ratings of new candidates cannot and should not be compared to the judicial ratings of Sitting Judges.
Upon the completion of all interviews for each meeting, the Chair will ask for a motion on each candidate in the order in which they were interviewed. The Chair will first recognize only motions that rate the candidate as either "Qualified" or "Unqualified." If a motion for "Unqualified" passes, the Chair may recognize a "Motion to Reconsider" or shall move to the next candidate. If a motion for "Qualified" passes, a Council member may motion that the candidate be rated "Highly Qualified." A candidate must receive 7 affirmative votes for any motion to pass.
G. Proxy Votes: Voting by proxy is permitted. The Executive Director will contact each voting member prior to the interviews to obtain a proxy in the event said member is unable to attend. Voting members may direct their proxy how to vote on any candidate.
H. Transmission of Findings: After each meeting, the Chair shall address letters in alphabetical order to the Governor's Chief Legal Counsel advising him/her of the findings of the Council regarding each candidate. Each letter shall state that the qualifications of the candidate were reviewed, that an interview was conducted if necessary, and shall state the rating of the Council. In the event information was lacking on a particular candidate, this will be stated in the letter. In the event Council members could not agree as to "Qualified," "Unqualified," or "Highly Qualified" for any candidate, then the letter shall state that the Council could not reach a consensus on the qualifications for that candidate.
I. Request for Additional Time: In circumstances where the Advisory Council believes it has "good cause" to request additional time to review the candidates, beyond the one week time limit allotted in Executive Order No. 456, the Chair may contact the Governor's Chief Legal Counsel stating such reasons. The Chair will contact the Governor's Chief Legal Counsel by letter, phone, or fax, depending upon the urgency of the request.