Tuesday, March 1, 2011

HUD ALJs charging agency interference

GovExec reported yesterday that two HUD administrative law judges have filed federal court complaints against the director of the hearing office at HUD. The magazine says they accuse David Anderson, head of HUD's Office of Hearings and Appeals, of improperly picking judges for cases, often preferring Judge J. Jeremiah Mahoney to his colleague Alexander Fernández . It paraphrases the complaints as saying that, "In 2008, Anderson took Fernández off all cases involving Native American housing, claiming that he lacked "sensitivity to political considerations faced by the [agency's] secretary"."

Furthermore, the account quotes the head of the Federal ALJs' conference as suggesting this kind of trouble has been going on for some time and has affected other ALJs no longer with the office.

This is not a big office at HUD -- it's not like at Social Security where individual claims end up in front of ALJs in branches all over the country. It looks like the complainants, Fernandez and Mahoney, are the only two ALJs at the first level of consideration, and then two other administrative judges staff the Office of Appeals. Then there are just support staff and Anderson himself, and that's it. Sounds like an uncomfortably small world.

If anyone wants to go looking for differences in the results, here's the HUD ALJ decisions archive.

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