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Ex-Environment Secretary Now Top NC Administrative Judge

A former state environmental secretary under then-Gov. Pat McCrory is the next leader of North Carolina’s Office of Administrative Hearings. Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby swore in Donald van der Vaart on Thursday to become the state’s chief administrative law judge, which also makes him OAH director. Van der Vaart succeeds Julian Mann III, who had served in the positions since 1989. The Office of Administrative Hearings is a quasi-judicial agency in which special judges review challenged state agency decisions and investigators examine discrimination allegations made by state and local government workers.