The county lineup
Voters are heading to the polls between now and March 2 for the March 6 primary. If you’re like me, or how I used to be, I didn’t really know what some of the positions we vote on, um, do. I figured a county judge had something to do with the law and I wasn’t sure what a commissioner did, but they were in our county. Somewhere.
Here is a brief overview of some of the positions we’re voting on here in the county. This is an abbreviated version of what appears in the Texas Association of Counties handbook about the responsibilities of elected county officials.
The judge is the presiding officer of the Commissioners Court, represents the county in many administrative functions, serves as budget officer in counties with fewer than 225,000 residents; serves as the head of emergency management. Some county judges also preside over misdemeanor criminal and small civil cases, probate matters and appeals from the Justice of the Peace Court.
My observation: kind of like a mayor, as in he heads up the commissioners and represents the county.
Coryell County has four commissioners, which each represent one of the county’s four geographical precincts. They are the policy-making authority and are “typically responsible for building and maintaining county roads and bridges within the precinct.” The entire commissioners court conducts the county business and is made up of the judge and four commissioners. Three of those spots are up for election right now. The court: adopts the county’s budget and tax rate; approves all budgeted purchases of the county; fills vacancies in elective and appointive offices; sets all salaries and benefits; has exclusive authority to authorize contracts; provides and maintains all county buildings and facilities.
My observation: kind of like the city council.
Both of the above offices are paid, salaried positions, so essentially voters “hire” these officials.
The county’s district clerk: serves as clerk and custodian of all records for the District Courts; indexes and secures all court records, collects filing fees, and handles funds held in litigation and money awarded to minors; coordinates the jury panel selection process; may process passport applications; manages court registry funds.
My observation: this is a VERY busy job. The district clerk has a staff which assist in the above duties. We have TWO district courts as of January 1 last year.
The county treasurer receives and deposits all county revenues; acts as chief liaison between the county and depository banks; prepares the payroll; disburses funds upon the order of the Commissioners Court; records receipts and expenditures and reconciles bank statements; may be designated as the county’s investment officer and required to submit regular reports on county finance to the members of the Commissioners Court; may also act as the county’s human resources officer, employee benefits coordinator, risk manager and insurance coordinator; may have some audit responsibilities in counties with no auditor.
My observation: As best I know, our treasurer does not oversee the human resources department. Our county does have its own auditor.
You can find out more about all elected positions here: https://county.org/texas-county-government/texas-county-officials/Pages/...
Happy voting and may the odds be in your candidate’s favor.