Board of Supervisors


A board of supervisors is a governing body that oversees the operation of county government.

Similar to a city council, a board of supervisors has legislative, executive, and quasi-judicial powers. The important difference is that a county is an administrative division of a state, whereas a city is a municipal corporation; thus, counties implement and, as necessary, refine the local application of state law and public policy, while cities produce and implement their own local laws and public policy (subject to the overriding authority of state law).

  • Legislative powers

    • Boards may pass and repeal laws, generally called ordinances. Depending on the state, and the subject matter of the law, these laws may apply to the entire county or to only unincorporated areas not within the jurisdiction of a city. The board is also responsible for approving the county budget. County governments may collect state taxes and, in some states, they may also levy taxes, such as property or sales tax.
  • Executive power
    • Boards oversee county departments. Generally, this is done under the aegis of a county administrator or county executive. The power of the administrator or executive to act independently depends on the county charter. The administrator or executive usually has the authority over the day-to-day operations of the county’s departments. Many boards independently appoint department heads, while other boards delegate that authority to the administrator or executive. Some department heads, like the sheriff or district attorney, may be elected separately by the electorate; however, the board still controls these departments’ budgets.
  • Quasi-judicial powers
    • In some states, the board is the final arbiter of decisions made by commissions underneath a board. This often involves land use planning

For duties and board information specific to Yavapai County, click here.

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