Since its establishment in 1979, the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) has grown from a small tribunal focusing on personnel litigation to one of the largest and fastest-growing municipal administrative courts in the nation. OATH's hallmarks include a reputation for high-quality and fair decisions, full access to justice for all New Yorkers, and innovative, forward-thinking business practices.
I was appointed as Chief Administrative Law Judge at OATH in June of 2010. Previously, and since 2008, I had been the Executive Director of the Environmental Control Board (ECB). Innovation was the cornerstone of my tenure at ECB, as my leadership team modernized operations and introduced best practices in the areas as diverse as customer service, data-based performance management, accountability, use of technology, and public information. As a result, ECB has streamlined its business processes, reformed its appeals unit, and eliminated a backlog of over 5,000 cases. Currently, 97% of its judicial decisions are sent out within 30 days of the hearing and its appeals are decided within 180 days. All of this has been accomplished while maintaining the highest standards regarding the quality of ECB's decisions.
For New Yorkers who participate in the administrative justice process, access to justice has never been easier. We have improved our websites to include more information about OATH and ECB, parties can easily file appeals online, and we have developed eye-catching, "plain language" informational brochures and other materials. The results speak for themselves. In 2010, persons appearing at or otherwise utilizing the services of OATH were given an opportunity to rate their experiences through a customer feedback survey. An impressive 85% rated their overall customer service experience as excellent or good and 89% rated the professionalism and courtesy of customer service representatives the same way.
I am proud of the work we perform at OATH and am committed to continually raising the bar in order to provide the highest possible level of service. By assembling a team of top-flight administrative law judges, managers, and administrators, the agency will continue to provide fair hearings and timely decisions with a sustained emphasis on high standards and accountability in the years ahead.
Suzanne A. Beddoe
Chief Administrative Law Judge