(a) In addition to any other delegation powers granted to the director under law, the director may delegate his or her powers to adopt final decisions under this chapter to all administrative law judges within specified ranges in the department, in the types of cases deemed appropriate by the director. The authority to adopt final decisions shall not be contingent upon the outcome of the judge's resolution of the case or issue, nor upon the identity of a particular administrative law judge. The defined areas of delegation shall be published by the department after interested groups such as the Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organizations, legal aid societies, and the County Welfare Directors Association have had a reasonable amount of time to review and comment.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, decisions rendered by the administrative law judges under the authority of this section shall be treated, for all purposes, as the decision of the director. The affected county, recipient, or applicant has the right to request a rehearing pursuant to Section 10960 , and the right to petition for judicial review pursuant to Section 10962 .
(c) If the director chooses to exercise the authority to delegate his or her powers to adopt final decisions to administrative law judges, the delegation shall be in writing. Any such delegation instrument shall be a public record available at all times, including the time of hearing, from each administrative law judge to whom that authority has been delegated. The written delegation instrument shall include paragraphs (1) and (2) of the following, and may include paragraph (3) of the following:
(1) It shall specify the administrative law judges that are authorized to render final decisions on his or her behalf, including the effective date of the authorization.
(2) It shall specify the types of cases or issues that are subject to his or her delegation of final authority.
(3) It may include any other implementation instructions which he or she determines are necessary for the effective implementation of this section.
(d) Decisions rendered by administrative law judges pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be fair, impartial, independent, in writing, and in the format prescribed by the Chief Administrative Law Judge.
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