§ 28-30-2. Appointment and terms of judges.
(a) Any workers' compensation commissioner who was appointed and confirmed and who took the oath of that office and is holding that office on July 11, 1990 shall continue to remain in the office of workers' compensation judge in accordance with the general laws. The appointment and confirmation as workers' compensation judges and chief judge of those judges who took their oath of office and are holding the office on July 11, 1990 is ratified and confirmed.
(b) Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of chief judge of the workers' compensation court, or whenever the chief judge is unable by reason of illness to perform the duties of chief judge, then the chief justice of the Rhode Island supreme court shall designate one of the judges of the workers' compensation court who is present and qualifies to act to perform the duties of the chief judge until the vacancy is filled or the disability removed. In the event that the chief judge determines that his or her absence for reasons other than illness will prevent him or her from performing the duties of that office, then the chief judge shall designate a workers' compensation judge to perform those duties during the period of his or her absence. The workers' compensation judges holding office on July 11, 1990 or subsequently appointed shall have precedence according to the dates of their commissions, or where the commissions of two (2) or more of them bear the same date, according to their ages.
(c) With the approval of the chief judge, the judges of the court may appoint attorneys who are qualified as arbitrators under the court annexed arbitration procedures to act as masters and make findings under the supervision of the appointing judge. With the approval of the chief judge, unless specifically prohibited by chapter 27 of title 11, the judges may authorize the appearance of claims adjusters or lay representatives before the masters.
(d) Whenever any person appointed to the office of the chief judge or associate judge fails to accept and qualify for the office or there is a vacancy in the office caused by death, resignation, retirement, removal, or any other cause whatsoever while the senate is in session, the governor shall appoint some person to fill the vacancy, and submit his or her appointment to the senate for confirmation in accordance with the general laws governing judicial selection, including the provisions of chapter 16.1 of title 8.
(G.L. 1938, ch. 300, art. 3, § 3; P.L. 1954, ch. 3297, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 28-30-2; P.L. 1971, ch. 254, § 1; P.L. 1978, ch. 267, § 1; P.L. 1982, ch. 32, art. 2, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 332, art. 1, § 2; P.L. 1991, ch. 44, art. 72, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 31, § 3; P.L. 1994, ch. 42, § 6; P.L. 2001, ch. 256, § 2; P.L. 2001, ch. 355, § 2.)