The county executive is the top elected or appointed official for a regional government in the U.S. This official works with a county board to create policies that allow regional government to operate. An executive can use veto power over resolutions passed by the county board to stop ineffective or expensive proposals. County executives oversee day-to-day operations of the county including human resources, waste management, and land-use policies. An important duty of a county executive is to work with local residents to resolve issues within the authority of county government.
County executives work with individual members of the elected county board as well as the entire board to assist their constituents. An executive meets with subcommittee chairs on a regular basis to develop agendas and discuss potential issues. The county executive often presides over board meetings in conjunction with the most senior member. Additional duties on the board can include scheduling special hearings and arbitrating disputes between board members. This legislative role can include a voting role if the county laws do not give veto power to the executive.
The relationship between an executive and board members can be contentious if the executive has the veto power. County executives with veto powers are allowed to strike down measures passed by the board. County laws often allow the board to overrule the executive’s veto with votes from a large majority of the board.
A majority of a county executive’s responsibilities deal with the efficient operation of county offices on a daily basis. The executive supervises human resources and payroll experts to hire new employees while managing costs for wages and benefits. County executives work with mayors and other local officials to coordinate garbage and recycling pickup. The executive’s office might also coordinate with regional officials to handle environmental issues. Land-use policies including creation of permit applications and maintenance of public lands often originate from the county executive.
Residents of a county often look to the executive’s office for leadership on regional issues. This responsibility leads county executives to interact with constituents by letter and in person. Aides and interns in the executive’s office handle correspondence from residents with guidance from the executive. Another form of constituent outreach is a series of office hours each month where the county executive sits down with residents to discuss county affairs. Executives often schedule forums throughout the county when major resolutions are pending before the county board.