Certificants shall have 30 days from the date of notification of the Committee’s findings and determination in which to request an appeal of any sanctions resulting from the Committee’s findings to the Board of Directors. In such an event, the Executive Director shall notify the Board of Directors that an appeal has been filed.
(i) Information Included in the Appeal. Any appeal by the certificant of the Ethics and Discipline Committee’s decision must be made in writing and must be mailed by traceable courier or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the Board of Directors. The certificant shall state the specific grounds why the appeal should be considered. The certificant may not present, include, or rely on facts that were not presented in the proceedings; provided, however, that the Board of Directors may, in exceptional cases, and in its discretion, grant waivers of this requirement and consider additional facts.
(ii) Appeal Hearing. In the event that the certificant timely and properly appeals the Ethics and Discipline Committee’s decision, the Board of Directors shall constitute and serve as an Appeals Panel and shall notify the certificant of the date and location of the appeal hearing. The appeal hearing must be scheduled as soon as possible after receipt of the certificant’s notification of appeal. The appeal shall be heard and conducted at NWSA headquarters or another location designated by NWSA. The certificant shall pay for his or her expenses incurred in connection with the appeal. The certificant shall have the right to bring his or her own attorney to counsel the certificant at the hearing, but in no event shall counsel be allowed to present argument or provide testimony in lieu of, or on behalf, of the certificant.
The hearing shall be closed to third parties with the exception of any witnesses, experts, consultants and legal counsel. The Board of Directors shall consider all available evidence presented and which formed the basis for the Ethics and Discipline Committee’s determination, and such other evidence as it may, in its discretion, deem appropriate. A formal record of the proceeding shall be kept on file at NWSA’s headquarters office.
g) Board of Directors’ Decision
(i) Board of Directors’ Decision. The Board of Directors shall only overrule or modify the Ethics and Discipline Committee’s recommendations and conclusions in the event of the following:
- The Code of Ethics was incorrectly applied;
- The findings of facts by the Ethics and Discipline Committee were clearly erroneous, arbitrary or capricious; and/or disproportionate to the facts surrounding the violation;
- The disciplinary sanctions imposed by Ethics and Discipline Committee were grossly disproportionate to the facts surrounding the violation.
The Board of Directors’ decision shall be final and not subject to further appeal.
(ii) Notification/Publication of Sanction. Within 30 days from the appeal hearing, the Board of Directors shall notify the complainant and the certificant in writing of its decision. The President shall report the name(s) of the sanctioned certificant and the violation of the Code of Ethics. Such information may be posted on the NWSA website, and any other appropriate locations as reasonably determined by the Board, consistent with NWSA’s Information Release Policy. Upon request, the Board of Directors shall provide such report to any interested person or public agency deemed necessary to protect the public, consistent with NWSA’s Information Release Policy.
h) Close of Case
Once a final decision has been made, the matter shall be closed and the relevant files shall be retained for a reasonable period of time at NWSA’s headquarters office. Members of the Ethics and Discipline Committee, the Board of Directors, and others in contact with materials related to the investigation, shall destroy or return all information received during the investigation to NWSA headquarters office.