Public Hearings

What is a Public Hearing?

A public hearing is defined as “an open gathering of officials and citizens, in which citizens are permitted to offer comments, but officials are not obliged to act on them or, typically, even to respond publicly.” Also known as public inquiries, public hearings are typically organized as a way to gather public opinions and concerns on political issues before a legislature, agency, or organization makes a decision or takes action. Public hearings can be called on open topics or else are held on pre-drafted legislation, agendas, or action items.  

What is a Hearing Examiner?

Hearing examiners are employees of federal, state, and local administrative agencies who act as judges to resolve conflicts that are within the jurisdiction of their particular agency. Hearing examiners have also been called hearing officers, and since the 1980s, they are commonly referred to as administrative law judges (ALJs). Read our Hearing Examiner code here:  SMC 2.26