Wisconsin Administrative Code
Personnel Commission
Chapter PC 5 - Hearings, decisions and review
Section PC 5.03 - Conduct of hearings

Universal Citation: WI Admin Code ยง PC 5.03

Current through February 26, 2024

(1) GENERALLY. The commission is not bound by the strict rules of procedure and the customary practices of courts of law.

(2) OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Except where requested by an appellant pursuant to s. 230.44(4) (a), Stats., or to the extent necessary to protect the confidentiality of materials or testimony as provided by law, all hearings conducted by the commission shall be open to the public.

(3) OPENING STATEMENTS. Opening statements are optional and shall be confined to a brief summary of the nature of the case, the evidence intended to be offered, and the controlling legal authorities.

(4) ORDER OF PROCEEDING. The petitioner shall present evidence first unless the case falls into a category in which the commission, the judiciary, or the legislature through statutory enactment has determined that the burden of proof shall be on the respondent. In such cases, the respondent shall proceed first. The order of proceeding may be varied by the hearing examiner or commission in the interest of obtaining the most cogent presentation of the case.

Note: For example, the burden of proof in an appeal of a discharge decision is on the respondent. Reinke v. Personnel Board, 53 W (2d) 123, 191 NW (2d) 833 (1971).

(5) EVIDENCE. As specified in s. 227.45, Stats., the commission is not bound by common law or statutory rules of evidence. All testimony having reasonable probative value shall be admitted, and immaterial, irrelevant or unduly repetitious testimony shall be excluded. The hearing examiner and the commission shall give effect to the rules of privilege recognized by law. Hearsay evidence may be admitted into the record at the discretion of the hearing examiner or commission and accorded such weight as the hearing examiner or commission deems warranted by the circumstances.


(a) Witnesses may testify either by answering questions posed to them or in narrative form.

(b) Cross-examination is not limited to matters to which the witness testified on direct examination.

(c) At the discretion of the hearing examiner or the commission, witnesses' testimony may be taken via telephone rather than in person.

(d) At the request of either party, the hearing examiner or the commission may order the exclusion of witnesses in accordance with the provisions of s. 906.15, Stats.

(7) STIPULATIONS. Parties may stipulate to some or all of the facts that are material to a case and the commission may base an order upon the stipulation.


(a) Unless good cause can be shown, any party who fails to appear at a hearing after due notice is deemed to have admitted the accuracy of evidence adduced by the parties present and the hearing examiner and the commission may rely on the record as made. If the absent party has the burden of proof, the commission shall consider a motion to dismiss by the parties present without requiring presentation of any evidence.

(b) If a witness fails to appear despite the issuance of a letter or subpoena as provided in s. PC 4.05, the commission may seek initiation of contempt proceedings.

Note: Any person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to attend or to testify as lawfully required before a hearing examiner or the commission or otherwise fails to act as set forth in s. 885.12, Stats., is subject to the penalties set forth therein.

(c) If a witness refuses to answer a proper question or otherwise engages in misconduct, the hearing examiner or the commission may exclude the witness, may strike all or part of the witness' testimony, may make an appropriate inference or may impose any combination of sanctions under this paragraph.

(d) The hearing examiner or the commission may exclude persons other than witnesses from the hearing for misconduct.

(9) RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS AND TRANSCRIPTS. A stenographic, electronic or other record of all hearings and such other proceedings as the commission may designate shall be made. Transcription of the record for purposes other than judicial review shall be at the expense of any party who requests the transcription. Copies of tape recordings or transcripts shall also be furnished at the expense of the party making the request. However, upon a showing of indigency and legal need, a party may be provided a copy of the transcript or tape recording without charge. Where indigency and legal need have been found, the commission shall, in its discretion, determine whether to provide a copy of the transcript or to provide a copy of the tape recording.

Disclaimer: These regulations may not be the most recent version. Wisconsin may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.
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