Dr. Donald van der Vaart named to judicial post

Dr. Donald van der Vaart was named to lead the Office of Administrative Hearings by Chief Justice Paul Newby. Image via NC Judicial Branch

RALEIGH – Chief Justice Paul Newby appointed Dr. Donald van der Vaart as the new Chief Administrative Law Judge and Director of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).

OAH is a quasi-judicial agency that provides administrative law judges to preside in contested cases of administrative law. In addition, OAH deals with the procedure which governs rulemaking for North Carolina state agencies, and is designated as a 706 deferral agency of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“Dr. van der Vaart is a multi-disciplined expert who has accumulated a vast amount of experience in regulatory, legal, and administrative operations,” said Chief Justice Newby. “His skill set is a great fit for directing OAH.”

A licensed attorney and engineer, van der Vaart served in the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. There, he held the positions secretary, deputy secretary, North Carolina energy policy advisor, and air quality manager.

In 2018, van der Vaart was appointed to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Scientific Advisory Board, and was reappointed in 2020. He serves on the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission and has authored nearly 50 papers on technical and legal topics.

Van der Vaart replaces Julian Mann, who served for over 31 years in the role and received the Friend of the Court Award from Chief Justice Newby.

“I want to congratulate Judge Mann for an impressive career of service to the citizens of our state,” Chief Justice Newby said. “I applaud Judge Mann for his steadfast dedication to OAH and his countless hours of selfless public service.”