State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Mississippi > Title-49 > 15 > 49-15-403

§ 49-15-403. Complaint; executive director of department to review each complaint for reasonable grounds to indicate violation; director may recommend fine where reasonable grounds exist; violator may request informal settlement conference; request for hearing before commission.
 

(1)  When any allegation or charge in the form of a complaint has been made against a person for violating the rules and regulations of the commission and such matter has been brought before the commission for administrative penalty processing, the commission shall: 

(a) Cause the complaint to be in writing and signed by the person making the charge; 

(b) Insure that the complaint is filed in the office of the commission; 

(c) Cause the complaint to be reviewed by the executive director of the department, or his designee; and 

(d) Send or deliver a copy of the complaint and any supporting documents to the alleged violator along with a request for the alleged violator to respond to the allegations within thirty (30) days. The notification shall be accomplished by any of the methods provided for by the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure. Citations issued at the time of the alleged violation by marine enforcement officers shall constitute sufficient notice. 

(2)  Upon receipt of the response and any supporting documents from the alleged violator, the executive director, or his designee, shall review all information on file to determine the merit of the complaint. If the executive director, or his designee, determines that the complaint lacks merit, the executive director may recommend that the complaint be dismissed. 

(3)  If the executive director, or his designee, determines that there are reasonable grounds to indicate that a violation has occurred or if the alleged violator admits to the truth of the allegations upon which the complaint is based, the executive director may recommend to the commission a fine not to exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) for each violation. The executive director shall send a copy of the recommendation to the alleged violator and the commission. 

(4) (a)  The alleged violator shall have fifteen (15) days from receipt of the recommendation of the executive director within which to file with the commission a written request for an informal settlement conference with the executive director, or his designee. If the alleged violator requests a conference, the executive director, or his designee, shall meet with the alleged violator to discuss the proposed penalty and the possibility of an agreed settlement. If, in the judgment of the executive director, or his designee, a reasonable settlement is reached, the recommended penalty shall be revised accordingly. 

(b) If the alleged violator and the executive director, or his designee, fail to reach an agreement on the recommended penalty, or if the alleged violator does not file a written request for a settlement conference, the alleged violator shall file within twenty (20) days of receipt of the recommendation of the executive director a written request for a hearing before the commission. 

(5)  The commission shall consider the alleged violation and the recommendation of the department at a regularly scheduled meeting of the commission. In determining the amount of the penalty, the commission may consider the appropriateness of such penalty and the gravity of the violation. The commission may issue a warning in lieu of proposing a penalty. 
 

Sources: Laws, 2005, ch. 422, § 2, eff from and after July 1, 2005.