Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 4. County Board Form of Government
7/4/2022

Chapter 4. County Board Form of Government.

§ 15.2-400. Form of government to be known as county board form; applicability of chapter.

The form of county organization and government provided for in this chapter shall be known as the county board form. The provisions of this chapter shall apply only to counties which have adopted the county board form.

Code 1950, § 15-364; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-699; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-401. Adoption of county board form.

Any county may adopt the county board form of government in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 3 (§ 15.2-300 et seq.) of this title.

Code 1950, § 15-362; 1950, pp. 123, 694; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-697; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-402. Board of county supervisors; election; terms; chairman; vacancies.

A. The powers and duties of the county as a body politic and corporate shall be vested in a board of county supervisors ("the board").

B. The board shall consist of one member elected from the county at large by the qualified voters of the county and one member from each magisterial or election district in the county elected by the qualified voters of such magisterial or election district. The board members shall be elected at the same time and for the same term as provided by general law for the election of boards of supervisors of counties. The board shall elect its chairman from its membership.

C. Members of the board in office immediately prior to the day upon which the county board form becomes effective in the county shall be and, unless sooner removed, continue as members until the expiration of their respective terms and until their successors have qualified.

D. If the change in the form of county organization and government becomes effective on January 1 next succeeding the regular election of board members in the county, such members-elect shall qualify and, as soon as possible after the county board form becomes effective in the county, succeed the then incumbents as board members and as such continue until the expiration of their respective terms and until their successors have qualified.

E. At the regular November election next succeeding the approval of the county board form, one board member shall be elected from the county at large by the qualified voters of the county; his term of office shall begin on January 1 next succeeding such election and shall run for a term coincident with that of the other board members. Pending his election and taking office, the office of member from the county at large shall remain vacant.

F. Except as otherwise provided in subsection E of this section, any vacancy in the membership of the board shall be filled pursuant to Article 6 (§ 24.2-225 et seq.) of Chapter 2 of Title 24.2.

Code 1950, § 15-365; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-700; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 158; 1993, c. 731; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-403. Same; powers and duties.

A. The board shall be the policy-determining body of the county and shall be vested with all the rights and powers conferred on boards of supervisors by general law, not inconsistent with the form of county organization and government herein provided.

B. The board may require of all departments, divisions, agencies and officers of the county and of the several districts of the county such annual reports and other reports as in its opinion the business of the county requires.

C. The board may inquire into the official conduct of any office or officer, whether elective or appointive, of the county or of any district thereof, and to investigate the accounts, receipts, disbursements and expenses of any county or district officer. For these purposes it may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, and require the production of books, papers and other evidence. If any witness fails or refuses to obey any such lawful order of the board he shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.

D. The board shall, as soon as the county board form of county organization and government takes effect in the county, provide for the performance of all the governmental functions of the county in a manner consistent with this chapter.

E. Whenever it is not designated herein what officer or employee of the county shall exercise any power or perform any duty conferred upon or required of the county, or any officer thereof, by general law, then any such power shall be exercised or duty performed by that officer or employee of the county so designated by ordinance or resolution of the board.

Code 1950, § 15-366; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-701; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-404. Appointment and compensation of officers and employees of county.

A. The board shall, except as otherwise provided in § 15.2-408 and except as the board may authorize any officer or the head of any office to appoint employees under such officer or in such office, appoint all officers and employees, including deputies and assistants, in the administrative service of the county. Any officer or employee of the county appointed pursuant to this section may be suspended or removed from office or employment either by the board or the officer or head of the office by whom he was appointed or employed.

B. In the event of the absence or disability of any officer except those named in § 15.2-408, the board or other appointing power may designate some responsible person to perform the duties of the office.

C. The board shall, subject to such limitations as may hereafter be prescribed by general law and except as herein otherwise provided, fix the compensation of all officers and employees of the county except as it may authorize any officer or the head of any office to fix the compensation of employees under such officer or in such office. The compensation of the attorney for the Commonwealth, the commissioner of the revenue, the county clerk, the sheriff, and the treasurer of the county, and the deputies, assistants and employees of such officers, shall be determined and paid in the manner which is or may hereafter be provided for the determination and payment of the salary of each such officer, respectively, by other provisions of general law.

D. The chairman of the board shall receive compensation not in excess of $3,000 per annum, and each of the other board members shall receive not in excess of $2,700 per annum. Alternatively, the chairman and other board members may be compensated in accordance with the provisions of general law as specified in Article 1.1 (§ 15.2-1414.1 et seq.) of Chapter 14 of this title. However, in Carroll County and Grayson County, the chairman and other board members shall be compensated as provided for in § 15.2-1414.2.

Code 1950, § 15-367; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-702; 1972, cc. 809, 815; 1973, c. 271; 1976, c. 92; 1981, c. 92; 1997, c. 587; 2000, cc. 613, 953.

§ 15.2-405. Assignment of activities.

Any activity which is not assigned by this form of county organization and government shall be assigned by the board to the appropriate officer or employee of the county, and the board may reassign, transfer or combine any such activities.

Code 1950, § 15-368; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-703; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-406. Appointment, compensation and removal of county administrator.

A. The board shall appoint a county administrator and fix his compensation. He shall be appointed with due regard to merit only, and need not be a resident of the county at the time of his appointment. No board member shall, during the time for which he is elected, be chosen county administrator.

B. The county administrator may be removed at the pleasure of the board.

C. In case of the absence or disability of the county administrator, the board may designate some responsible person to perform the duties of the office.

Code 1950, § 15-369; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-704; 1973, c. 163; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-407. Powers and duties of county administrator.

A. The board may by resolution designate the county administrator as clerk of the board. In such case and upon the qualification of the county administrator authorized by this article the county clerk of such county shall be relieved of his duties in connection with the board and all of his duties shall be imposed upon and performed by the county administrator. If the board does not designate the county administrator as clerk, the county clerk or one of his deputies shall attend the meetings of the board and record in a book provided for the purpose all of the proceedings of the board, but he shall not be authorized and required to sign any warrants of the board, such authority being hereby vested in the county administrator. However, the board may by resolution of record require the county clerk to sign all warrants of the board.

B. The county administrator shall, insofar as the board requires, be responsible to the board for the proper administration of all affairs of the county which the board has authority to control. He shall keep the board advised as to the financial condition of the county and shall submit to the board monthly, and at such other times as may be required, reports concerning the administrative affairs of the county.

C. The county administrator shall, if the board requires, examine regularly the books and papers of each department, officer and agency of the county and report to the board the condition in which he finds them and such other information as the board may direct.

D. The county administrator shall from time to time submit to the board recommendations concerning the affairs of the county and its departments, officers and agencies as he deems proper.

E. Under the direction of the board, the county administrator, for informative and fiscal planning purposes only, shall prepare and submit to the board a proposed annual budget for the county. The board may, however, direct that the county budget be prepared by the county clerk.

F. The county administrator shall audit all claims against the county for services, materials and equipment for such county agencies and departments as the board may direct, except those required to be received and audited by the county school board, and shall present the audits to the board of county supervisors together with his recommendation and such information as necessary to enable the board to act on such claims.

G. If the board, by resolution, designates the county administrator as clerk of the board, the county administrator shall: (i) have all the powers, authority and duties vested in the county clerk as clerk of the board, under general law; (ii) pay, with his warrant, all claims against the county chargeable against any fund under the control of the board, other than the general county fund, when such expenditure is authorized and approved by the officer and/or employee authorized to procure the services, supplies, materials or equipment accountable for such claims and after auditing the claims as to their authority and correctness; (iii) pay with his warrant all claims against the county chargeable against the general county fund where the claim arose out of purchase made by the county administrator or for contractual services by him authorized and contracted within the power and authority given him by board resolution; and (iv) pay with his warrant all claims against the county authorized to be paid by the board.

Code 1950, § 15-370; 1950, pp. 123, 694; 1959, Ex. Sess., c. 69; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-705; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-408. Attorney for the Commonwealth, county clerk, sheriff, commissioner of the revenue and treasurer of the county.

A. The attorney for the Commonwealth, the county clerk, the sheriff, the commissioner of the revenue and the treasurer of the county in office immediately prior to the day upon which the county board form becomes effective in the county shall continue, unless sooner removed, as attorney for the Commonwealth, county clerk, sheriff, commissioner of the revenue and treasurer, respectively, of the county until the expiration of their respective terms of office and until their successors have qualified. Thereafter, such officers shall be elected in such manner and for such terms as provided by general law.

B. When any vacancy occurs in any office named in subsection A, the vacancy shall be filled as provided by general law.

C. Each officer named in subsection A of this section may appoint such deputies, assistants and employees as he may require in the exercise of the powers conferred and in the performance of the duties imposed upon him by law.

D. Each officer, except the attorney for the Commonwealth, named in subsection A shall, except as otherwise provided in this chapter, exercise all the powers conferred and perform all the duties imposed upon such officer by general law. He shall be accountable to the board in all matters affecting the county and shall perform such duties, not inconsistent with his office, as the board directs.

Code 1950, § 15-371; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-706; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 158; 1977, c. 584; 1997, c. 587; 2003, c. 1015.

§ 15.2-409. Authority of boards of supervisors to require commissioners of revenue to prepare tax bills.

The board may by resolution require the commissioner of revenue of such county to prepare and make all tax bills, in accord with all items shown on the land books, personal property books and income assessment books for the current year, and deliver the bills to the treasurer of the county at the time the land books, personal property books and income assessment books are delivered to such treasurer under general law. Such requirement shall not be effective, however, until the board has first installed in the office of the commissioner of revenue a suitable machine by which the tax bills may be prepared and made out simultaneously with the preparation and making out of the books. The board may prescribe the form of the tax bills and require the commissioner of revenue to destroy all unused tax bill forms in the presence of the board or a committee of its members appointed by its chairman. When the board has adopted such resolution and certified it to the county treasurer, he shall be relieved of all duties and responsibility in reference to the preparation of the bills.

Code 1950, § 15-371.1; 1952, c. 243; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-707; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-410. County school board and division superintendent of schools.

A. The county school board and the division superintendent of schools shall exercise all the powers conferred and perform all the duties imposed upon them by general law.

B. The county school board shall be composed of not less than three nor more than six members chosen by the board of county supervisors to serve staggered four-year terms. Initial terms may be less than four years to establish the staggered membership. The terms of no more than three members shall expire in any one year. The board of county supervisors shall establish by resolution the number of school board members and the staggered membership. The school board membership may be increased from time to time up to six members. Three-member boards need not be staggered. All appointments to fill vacancies shall be made by the board of county supervisors and shall be for the unexpired terms.

C. Each member shall receive as compensation for his services such annual salary as may be prescribed pursuant to § 22.1-32.

D. The board of county supervisors may also appoint a resident of the county to cast the deciding vote in case of a tie vote of the school board as provided in § 22.1-75. The tie breaker, if any, shall be appointed for a four-year term whether appointed to fill a vacancy caused by expiration of a term or otherwise.

E. Notwithstanding the above provisions, the Board of Supervisors of Scott County may establish a staggered membership for its school board with the school board members serving three-year terms and the Board of Supervisors of Carroll County may continue to appoint five members to its school board to serve staggered five-year terms.

F. Notwithstanding any contrary provisions of this section, a county which has an elected school board shall comply with the applicable provisions of Article 7 (§ 22.1-57.1 et seq.) of Title 22.1.

Code 1950, § 15-372; 1950, pp. 124, 695; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-708; 1972, c. 470; 1976, c. 92; 1980, c. 559; 1981, c. 246; 1986, c. 618; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-411. County health officer; county board of health.

The county health officer shall be chosen by the board of county supervisors from a list of eligibles furnished by the State Board of Health. He shall exercise all the powers conferred and shall perform all the duties imposed upon the local health officer and perform such other duties as may be imposed upon him by the board of county supervisors. The board of county supervisors may select two qualified citizens of the county, who shall serve without pay, and who together with the county health officer shall constitute the county board of health. Such board shall advise and cooperate with the county health officer. The board may at any time be abolished by the board of county supervisors. The board of county supervisors may, in lieu of establishing a local board of health as herein provided, operate its health department as a part of a State Board of Health district.

Code 1950, § 15-373; 1950, p. 696; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-709; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-412. Local board of social services and local director of social services.

The board of county supervisors shall select three qualified citizens of the county, one of whom may be a member of the board of county supervisors, who shall constitute the local board of social services; alternatively, the board of county supervisors may choose a board of social services consisting of five qualified citizens. Such board shall, insofar as not inconsistent with this form of county organization and government, exercise all the powers conferred, and perform all the duties imposed, upon local boards of social services by law. There also shall be a local director of social services who shall be chosen by the board of county supervisors, or by the local board of social services if the board of county supervisors so provides, from a list of eligibles furnished by the Director of the Department of Social Services. He shall, insofar as consistent with this form of county organization and government, exercise the powers conferred and perform the duties imposed upon local directors of social services by general law. The local board of social services and the local director of social services shall also perform such other duties as required by the board of county supervisors.

Code 1950, § 15-374; 1950, p. 696; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-710; 1968, c. 80; 1974, cc. 44, 45; 1997, c. 587; 2002, c. 747; 2010, cc. 349, 436.

§ 15.2-413. Department of extension and continuing education.

The department of extension and continuing education shall be established for the purpose of conducting noncredit educational programs and disseminating useful and practical information pursuant to the provisions of § 23.1-2608 et seq.

1972, c. 653, § 15.1-711.1; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-414. County purchasing agent.

A. The county shall have a county purchasing agent. The county administrator shall, unless and until the board selects a county purchasing agent or designates some other officer to act as county purchasing agent, exercise the powers conferred and perform the duties imposed upon the county purchasing agent.

B. The county purchasing agent shall, subject to such exceptions as the board may allow, make all purchases for the county and its departments, officers and agencies.

C. The county purchasing agent may also transfer supplies, materials and equipment between, and sell surplus equipment, materials and supplies not needed by, the departments, officers and agencies of the county.

D. With the approval of the board, the county purchasing agent may establish specifications or standards for equipment, materials and supplies to be purchased and inspect deliveries to determine their compliance with such specifications and standards.

E. All purchases and sales by the county purchasing agent shall be made in accordance with Chapter 43 (§ 2.2-4300 et seq.) of Title 2.2 and under such rules and regulations consistent with Chapter 43 of Title 2.2 as the board provides.

F. The county purchasing agent shall have charge of such storage rooms and warehouses of the county as the board provides.

Code 1950, § 15-376; 1950, p. 125; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-712; 1972, c. 820; 1982, c. 647; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-415. Schedule of compensation for officers and employees.

The board shall, except as otherwise provided in this chapter, establish a schedule of compensation for officers and employees which shall, so far as practical, provide uniform compensation for like service. The compensation prescribed shall be subject to such limitations as may be made by general law.

Code 1950, § 15-378; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-714; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-416. Official bonds.

The county officers shall give such bonds as required by general law, except that the treasurer's bond shall be in such penalty as the court or judge requires, but not less than fifteen percent of the amount to be received annually by him. In addition thereto, the board may fix and require bonds in excess of the amounts so required, and to require bonds of other county officers and employees in their discretion, conditioned on the faithful discharge of their duties and the proper accounting for all funds coming into their possession.

Code 1950, § 15-379; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-715; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-417. Examination and audit of accounts and books.

The board shall require an annual audit of the books of every county officer who handles public funds to be made by an accountant who is not a regular officer or employee of the county and who is thoroughly qualified by training and experience. An audit by the Auditor of Public Accounts, under the provisions of law, may be considered as having satisfied the requirements of this section. The board may at any time order an examination or audit of the accounts of any officer or employee of the county government. Upon the death, resignation, removal or expiration of the term of any county officer, the board shall cause an audit and investigation of the accounts of such officer to be made. If, as a result of any such audit, an officer is found indebted to the county, the board shall proceed forthwith to collect such indebtedness.

Code 1950, § 15-380; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-716; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-418. Certain officers not affected.

The following officers shall not, except as herein otherwise provided, be affected by the adoption of the county board form:

1. Jury commissioners;

2. County electoral boards;

3. Registrars;

4. Judges and clerks of election;

5. Magistrates; and

6. Commissioners of accounts.

Code 1950, § 15-383; 1950, p. 126; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-720; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 158; 1973, c. 545; 1997, c. 587.