On Friday February 10, 2016, the Center for New York City Law at New York Law School hosted the 140th CityLaw Breakfast. The event speaker was Fidel Del Valle, Commisioner and Chief Judge of the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.Commissioner Del Valle was welcomed by Anthony Crowell, President and Dean of New York Law School and introduced by Ross Sandler, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for New York City Law. He discussed his long relationship with OATH, beginning when he was a new attorney in the Probation Department. He mused about how the first OATH Commissioner personally answered the phone when he called OATH and invited him to sit in on other hearings to learn how the tribunals worked.
The Commissioner recalled that when he was appointed in 2014 the tribunals varied in procedure and performance widely. He noted that he could not find a single person who thought they got a fair hearing at OATH, most thought the system was rigged for the City. Since coming to OATH, the Commissioner has made strides to make the agency’s processes and documents more uniform, efficient and transparent.
The Commissioner expressed optimism for OATH going forward. He laid out more improvements to come, including ensuring inspectors testify to every summonses by being able to phone-in testimony as the Port Authority already does. He made clear that the criminal summonses that will soon be under OATH’s jurisdiction—approximately 145,000 a year—will receive the same due process and evidentiary standards as if they were heard in criminal court.
Commissioner Del Valle finished by taking questions from the capacity crowd.
To watch a recording of the speech, click here or click the video below.