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Minnesota Agencies

Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Office of Administrative Hearings

Also known as:
Office of Hearing Examiners (1975-1981)
Active dates:1975-

The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) has three divisions; Administrative Law, Workers' Compensation and Municipal Boundary Adjustments. OAH judges conduct hearings, conferences and mediations when a state or local law provides the right to challenge a government action through an administrative hearing. OAH strives to provide all parties to a matter, a full and fair opportunity to challenge those actions. Additionally, OAH provides injured workers, their employers, and workers' compensation insurers with prompt and impartial resolutions of claims for workers' compensation benefits.


The Office of Administrative Hearings, initially named the Office of Hearing Examiners, was created in 1975 (Laws 1975, Ch. 380, Sec. 16-18) as part of broader administrative procedures legislation. Minnesota was the second state to create a central administrative hearing office, following California. The Office was established formally on July 1, 1975, but was not permitted to conduct administrative law hearings until January 1, 1976.

A 2006 Bench and Bar article provides details about OAH's history:

"In January of 1976, when Wendell Anderson was governor, Robert J. Sheran was chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, and Butch Wynegar was an All-Star for the Minnesota Twins, the Office of Hearing Examiners began with Duane Harves as its first chief hearing examiner. The first significant expansion of OAH responsibilities after its creation was in 1981, when legislation transferred all workers' compensation hearing functions and the compensation judges who were performing those functions from the Department of Labor and Industry to the now renamed Office of Administrative Hearings. While OAH took on this high-volume caseload, the Department of Labor and Industry retained, for the time, the alternative dispute resolution functions and the quasijudicial settlement function. The Department of Labor and Industry continued to employ a cadre of compensation judges, known as "settlement judges," who presided over settlement conferences and certain other related prehearing proceedings. The two quasijudicial functions continued to be done in the two different state agencies until 1997, when the Legislature created a Settlement Division within OAH and transferred all of the settlement functions to OAH, along with the settlement judges who had been performing those functions."

The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) is a quasi-judicial agency in the Executive Branch.


Chief administrative law judge; appointed by governor; 6-year term; senate confirmation required.

Entries for this agency in the Annual Compilation and Statistical Report of Multi-Member Agencies Report: 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988.

Note: This report provides membership details as well as meeting information and a summary of the group's activities.

Agency heads:

Chief hearing examiner: Duane Harves, 1975-1988(?)

Chief administrative law judge: William Brown, 1988-1993; Kevin Johnson, 1993-1997; Kenneth Nickolai, 1997-2004; Raymond R. Krause, 2004-2013; Tammy Pust, 2013-2019; Jenny Starr, 2019-present 

Note: The Legislative Reference Library may have additional reports on or by this group available through our catalog.
Minnesota's OAH: 30 years of innovation in administrative review. Bench and Bar of Minnesota, February 2006.
News clippings and documents. Agencies Notebook Collection, 1976-2013.
Record last updated: 08/21/2023

All information on this group from the Library’s collection of agency notebooks has been digitized. These materials are incorporated into the “documents/articles” section of the record. Please contact a librarian with any questions. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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