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General Laws

Section 19. (A.) Form of Government.

(i) The form of government provided in this article shall be known as the “board chairperson plan,” and shall, together with sections fifteen, sixteen and twenty of this chapter govern any county whose voters have adopted it pursuant to this chapter.

(ii) Each county operating under this article shall be governed by an elected board of commissioners and a commissioner board chairperson and by such other officers and employees as may be duly appointed pursuant to this chapter, the general laws or by ordinance.

(B.) Board Chairperson.

(i) The board chairperson shall be a duly elected member of the board of commissioners. He shall be elected by the board commissioners at their organizational meeting for a term of one year, such term to begin immediately after his election on January first.

(ii) The salary of the board chairperson shall be fixed by ordinance of the board of commissioners, such salary shall be reasonable and commensurate with the duties of the office.

(iii) The office of board chairperson shall be deemed vacant if: the incumbent moves his residence from the county; or he is by physical or mental illness or other casualty unable to continue to serve as board chairperson. Any vacancy in the office of board chairperson shall be filled by the board of commissioners which shall appoint one of their number to serve as board chairperson for the remainder of the unexpired term. During the temporary absence or temporary disability of the board chairperson the vice chairperson shall serve as acting chairperson.

(iv) The executive power of the county shall be exercised by the board chairperson. He shall:

(a) Report annually to the board of commissioners, the advisory board on county expenditures, and to the people of the county on the work of the previous year and he shall also recommend to the board whatever action or programs he deems necessary for the improvement of the county and the welfare of its residents. He may from time to time at his discretion recommend any course of action or programs he deems necessary or desirable for the county to undertake;

(b) Preside over board meetings with the right to vote on all questions;

(c) Serve as spokesman for the board on matters concerning policies and programs;

(d) Serve as representative of the board at ceremonial and civic occasions;

(e) Through the county administrative officer; enforce the county charter, the county’s laws and all general laws applicable thereto;

(f) Represent the board in all dealing with the county administrative officer except as otherwise specified herein;

(g) Execute all contracts, bonds or other instruments requiring the consent of the county.

(v) The board chairperson.

(a) Insure adequate supervision, direction and control of all county administrative departments, and care and maintenance of all county properties, institutions and agencies by the administrative officer;

(b) With the advice and consent of the board, appoint all members of boards, and commissions and authorities, and all other officials not serving in the administrative service of the county the manner of whose appointment is not prescribed elsewhere in this section.

(c) Serve as an ex-officio nonvoting member of all appointive bodies in county government;

(d) At his discretion, require from the administrative officer reports and examine the accounts, records and operations of any agency of county government;

(e) At his discretion, remove or suspend anyone occupying one of the offices specified in subclause (b) of clause (v) of subsection (B) of this section.

(C.) Board of Commissioners.

(i) The legislative power of the county shall be vested in the board of commissioners. Such legislative power shall be exercised by ordinance, except for the exercise of the following powers which are required to be, or are permitted to be, exercised by resolution:

(a) The establishment of a municipal advisory council;

(b) The conduct of an inquiry or investigation;

(c) The expression of disapproval of the suspension or dismissal of officers or employees;

(d) The exercise of the power of advice and consent to actions of the chairperson and administrative officer;

(e) The adoption of rules for the board;

(f) The establishment of times and places for board meetings;

(g) The establishment of the board as a committee of the whole and the delegation of any number of its members as an ad hoc committee;

(h) The declaration of emergencies;

(i) The identification of emergency situations;

(j) The establishment of county personnel policies;

(k) Designation of newspapers; for required advertisement and notices;

(l) The appointment and removal of such officers and employees as the board is permitted by law;

(m) Approval of contracts presented by the county administrator;

(n) Actions specified as resolutions and,

(o) The expression of such board policies or opinions as require no formal board action.

(D.) Chairperson and vice-chairperson; election.

(i) The board shall elect a chairperson as specified in this section. At its reorganizational meeting each January the board shall select one of its members to serve as vice-chairperson for the year.

(ii) The board of commissioners:

(a) Shall pass in accordance with this chapter whatever ordinances or resolutions it deems necessary and proper for the good governance of the county;

(b) Shall appoint and remove the administrative officer by a majority vote and may create the office of, appoint and remove, a deputy administrative officer by a majority vote.

(c) Shall advise and consent to all appointments by the president and administrative officer for which board confirmation is specified under this section.

(d) Shall appoint a clerk to the board who shall serve at its pleasure and keep the records and minutes of the board and who shall serve at the pleasure of the board or for such term not to exceed three years as may be provided by the commissioners provided however than an ordinance providing for the adoption of any such term shall not be enacted between October first of any year and January of the succeeding year.

(e) Shall appoint the county counsel to the county’s legal department to serve at the pleasure of the board or for such term not to exceed four years as may be provided by the commissioner, provided, however, that no ordinance providing for the adoption of any such term shall not be enacted between October first of any year and January first of the succeeding year. The commissioner may also establish a term not to exceed three years for the position of assistant county counsel.

(f) May pass a resolution of disapproval of a suspension or dismissal.

(g) Shall approve the annual operating and capital budget prior to presenting the budgets for advisory board appropriation.

(E.) Chief Administrator.

(i) The county administrative officer shall serve at the pleasure of the board.

(ii) The chief administrative officer shall by education, experience and ability be qualified to perform the duties established for him. He need not be a resident of the county at the time of his appointment, but during his tenure he may live outside the county only with the permission of the board.

(iii) The administrative officer shall be responsible to the board through the chairperson except as specified below. He shall be responsible for the efficient administration of the county’s government. He shall:

(a) Prepare and submit directly to the board for its consideration and adoption an annual operating budget and a capital budget, establish the schedules and procedures to be followed by all county departments, offices and agencies in connection therewith, and supervise and administer all phases of the budgetary process.

(b) Through the treasurer, supervise the collection of revenues, and audit and control disbursements and expenditures and prepare a complete account of all expenditures;

(c) Supervise the care and custody of all county property, institutions and agencies;

(d) Organize the work of county departments, subject to the administrative code adopted by the board. He shall further review their administration and make recommendations pertaining thereto to the board;

(e) Review, analyze and forecast trends of county services and finances and programs of all boards, commissions, agencies and other county bodies, and report and recommend to the board;

(f) Develop, install and maintain centralized budgeting, personnel and purchasing procedures.

(g) Negotiate contracts for the county with the approval of the county commissioners, and, where appropriate the advisory board on county expenditures, and make recommendations concerning the nature and location of county improvements and executive improvements determined by the board; and

(h) Assure that all terms and conditions imposed in favor of the county or its inhabitants in any statute, franchise or other contract are faithfully kept and performed.

(iv) Powers.

The administrative officer shall:

(a) Supervise, direct and control all county administrative departments;

(b) Appoint the heads of all county departments and if so provided in the administrative code of any designated divisions within such departments and the advice and consent of the board of commissioners and appoint all other county personnel the manner of whose appointment is not prescribed elsewhere in this section;

(c) At his discretion, remove or suspend any official in the unclassified service of the county over whose office the administration officer has power of appointment;

(d) At his discretion, but subject to any pertinent provisions of the General Laws or civil service regulations, delegate to any department head powers of appointment and removal of his departmental employees. If the administrative officer does not so delegate his power he may appoint and remove, subject to civil service regulations, all employees whose positions have been created in accordance with actions of the commissioners and the manner of whose appointment is not specified elsewhere in this section;

(e) At his discretion, require reports and examine the accounts, records and operations of any agency of county government; and

(f) At his discretion, order any agency under his jurisdiction to undertake any task for any other agency on a temporary basis if he deems it necessary for proper and efficient administration to do so.

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