|(a) A hearing officer presiding over a hearing shall have all powers necessary and appropriate to conduct a full, fair, and impartial hearing. Hearing officers shall remain independent and impartial in all matters regarding the handling of any issues during the pendency of a case and in issuing their written proposals for decision. (b) A hearing officer shall be disqualified if the hearing officer has a personal interest in the outcome of the appeal or if the hearing officer directly or indirectly participated in the determination on appeal. Any party may present facts to the Agency in support of a request to disqualify a hearing officer. (c) The hearing officer may withdraw from a hearing to avoid the appearance of impropriety or partiality. (d) Following any disqualification or withdrawal of a hearing officer, the Agency shall assign an alternate hearing officer to the case. The alternate hearing officer shall not be bound by any findings or conclusions made by the disqualified or withdrawn hearing officer.