Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 5. County Executive Form of Government
5/22/2024

Article 3. Departments; County Executive Form.

§ 15.2-518. Departments of the county.

The activities or functions of the county shall, with the exceptions herein provided, be distributed among the following general divisions or departments:

1. Department of finance.

2. Department of social services.

3. Department of law enforcement.

4. Department of education.

5. Department of records.

6. Department of health.

The board may establish any of the following additional departments, and such other departments as it deems necessary to the proper conduct of the business of the county:

1. Department of assessments.

2. Department of public works.

Any activity which is unassigned by this form of county organization and government shall, upon recommendation of the county executive, be assigned by the board to the appropriate department. The board may further, upon recommendation of the county executive, reassign, transfer, rename or combine any county functions, activities or departments.

Code 1950, § 15-287; 1952, c. 168; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-604; 1972, c. 653; 1976, c. 194; 1997, c. 587; 2002, c. 747.

§ 15.2-519. Department of finance; director; general duties.

The director of finance shall be the head of the department of finance and, as such, have charge of: (i) the administration of the financial affairs of the county, including the budget; (ii) the assessment of property for taxation; (iii) the collection of taxes, license fees and other revenues; (iv) the custody of all public funds belonging to or handled by the county; (v) the supervision of the expenditures of the county and its subdivisions; (vi) the disbursement of county funds; (vii) the purchase, storage and distribution of all supplies, materials, equipment and contractual services needed by any department, office or other using agency of the county unless some other officer or employee is designated for this purpose; (viii) the keeping and supervision of all accounts; and (ix) such other duties as the board requires.

Code 1950, § 15-288; 1959, Ex. Sess., c. 69; 1962, cc. 399, 623, § 15.1-605; 1982, c. 647; 1984, c. 485; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-520. Department of Finance; expenditures and accounts.

No money shall be drawn from the treasury of the county, nor shall any obligation for the expenditure of money be incurred, except pursuant to appropriation resolutions. Funds appropriated for multiyear capital projects and outstanding grants, however, may be carried over from year to year without being reappropriated. Accounts shall be kept for each item of appropriation made by the board. Each such account shall show in detail the appropriations made thereto, the amount drawn thereon, the unpaid obligation charged against it, and the unencumbered balance in the appropriation account, properly chargeable, sufficient to meet the obligation entailed by contract, agreement, or order.

Code 1950, § 15-288; 1959, Ex. Sess., c. 69; 1962, cc. 399, 623, § 15.1-605; 1982, c. 647; 1984, c. 485; 1997, c. 587; 2021, c. 8; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 155.

§ 15.2-521. Same; powers of commissioners of revenue; real estate reassessments.

A. The director of finance shall exercise all the powers conferred and perform all the duties imposed by general law upon commissioners of the revenue, not inconsistent herewith, and shall be subject to the obligations and penalties imposed by general law.

B. The director of finance shall make every general reassessment of real estate in the county, unless some other person is designated for this purpose by the board in accordance with § 15.2-512 or unless the board creates a separate department of assessments in accordance with § 15.2-518. The assessing officer shall collect and maintain data and devise methods and procedures to be followed in each general reassessment that will make for uniformity in assessments throughout the county.

Code 1950, § 15-288; 1959, Ex. Sess., c. 69; 1962, cc. 399, 623, § 15.1-605; 1982, c. 647; 1984, c. 485; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-522. Same; powers of county treasurer; deposit of moneys.

The director of finance shall also exercise the powers conferred and perform the duties imposed by general law upon county treasurers, and shall be subject to the obligations and penalties imposed by general law. All moneys received by any county officer or employee for or in connection with county business shall be paid promptly into the hands of the director of finance. All such money shall be promptly deposited by the director of finance to the credit of the county in such banks or trust companies as the board selects. No money shall be disbursed or paid out by the county except upon checks signed by the chairman of the board, or such other person the board designates, and countersigned by the director of the department of finance.

The board may designate one or more banks or trust companies as a receiving or collecting agency under the direction of the department of finance. All funds so collected or received shall be deposited to the credit of the county in such banks or trust companies as the board selects.

Every bank or trust company serving as a depository or as a receiving or collecting agency for county funds shall be required by the board to give adequate security therefor and to meet such interest requirements as the board may by ordinance or resolution establish. All interest on money so deposited shall accrue to the county's benefit.

Code 1950, § 15-288; 1959, Ex. Sess., c. 69; 1962, cc. 399, 623, § 15.1-605; 1982, c. 647; 1984, c. 485; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-523. Same; claims against counties; accounts.

The director of finance shall (i) audit all claims against the county for goods or services; (ii) ascertain that such claims are in accordance with the purchase orders or contracts of employment from which the claims arise; (iii) draw all checks in settlement of such claims; (iv) keep a record of the revenues and expenditures of the county; (v) keep such accounts and records of the affairs of the county as prescribed by the Auditor of Public Accounts; and (vi) prepare and submit to the board statements showing the progress and status of the county's affairs in such form and at such time as agreed upon by the Auditor of Public Accounts and the board.

Code 1950, § 15-288; 1959, Ex. Sess., c. 69; 1962, cc. 399, 623, § 15.1-605; 1982, c. 647; 1984, c. 485; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-524. Same; director as purchasing agent.

The director of finance shall act as purchasing agent for the county, unless the board designates another officer or employee for such purpose. The director of finance or the person designated as purchasing agent shall make all purchases, subject to such exceptions as the board allows. He may transfer supplies, materials and equipment between departments and offices; sell any surplus supplies, materials or equipment; and make such other sales as the board authorizes. He may, with the board's approval, establish specifications or standards for all supplies, materials and equipment to be purchased for the county and to inspect all deliveries to determine their compliance with such specifications and standards.

All purchases 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 may by ordinance or resolution establish. He shall not furnish any supplies, materials, equipment or contractual services to any department or office except upon receipt of a properly approved requisition and unless there is an unencumbered appropriation balance sufficient to pay for the supplies, materials, equipment or contractual services.

Except as provided by the board, before making any sale he shall invite competitive bids under such rules and regulations as the board may by ordinance or resolution establish.

Code 1950, § 15-288; 1959, Ex. Sess., c. 69; 1962, cc. 399, 623, § 15.1-605; 1982, c. 647; 1984, c. 485; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-525. Same; obligations of chief assessing officer.

The chief assessing officer shall be subject to the obligations and penalties imposed by general law upon commissioners of the revenue.

Code 1950, § 15-288; 1959, Ex. Sess., c. 69; 1962, cc. 399, 623, § 15.1-605; 1982, c. 647; 1984, c. 485; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-526. Department of public works.

If the department of public works is established, the director of the department shall be a person who has training and experience in the management of the construction and maintenance of public projects. He shall exercise the powers conferred and perform the duties imposed by general law upon the county road engineer and in addition shall perform such other duties as may be imposed upon him by the board. He shall also have charge of the maintenance, construction and reconstruction of county roads and bridges, unless the maintenance, construction and reconstruction of such county roads and bridges have been assumed by the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 15-289; 1952, c. 168; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-606; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-527. Department of social services.

The local director of social services shall be head of the department of social services, and shall be chosen from a list of eligibles furnished by the Commissioner of Social Services. He shall have charge of poor relief and charitable institutions; may, at the discretion of the board, have charge of parks and playgrounds; shall exercise the powers conferred and perform the duties imposed by general law upon the local board of social services, not inconsistent herewith; and shall perform such other duties the board imposes upon him.

A local board of social services shall be appointed pursuant to the provisions of § 63.2-303.

Code 1950, § 15-290; 1952, c. 436; 1960, c. 513; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-607; 1964, c. 497; 1997, c. 587; 2002, c. 747.

§ 15.2-528. Department of law enforcement.

The department of law enforcement shall consist of such police as may be appointed pursuant to § 15.2-512, and police officers appointed by the board, pursuant to such section, including the chief of the department. All so appointed shall be conservators of the peace in the county. The county executive shall have supervision and control of the county police force.

The department of law enforcement, attorney for the Commonwealth, and sheriff shall be charged with the enforcement of all criminal laws throughout the county. The authority of the county police, upon the consent of the governing body of the incorporated town, shall be concurrent with that of any law-enforcement officers appointed by the governing body of any incorporated town located within the county for purposes of enforcing the laws of the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 15-291; 1952, c. 413; 1958, c. 112; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-608; 1972, c. 360; 1977, c. 584; 1984, c. 722; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-529. Appointment of county attorney.

The board may appoint a county attorney pursuant to § 15.2-1542, who shall serve at a salary as fixed by the board and who shall be accountable to the board.

Code 1950, § 15-291; 1952, c. 413; 1958, c. 112; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-608; 1972, c. 360; 1977, c. 584; 1984, c. 722; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-530. Powers and duties of sheriff.

The sheriff shall exercise the powers conferred and perform the duties imposed upon sheriffs by general law. He shall have the custody of, and be charged with the duty of feeding and caring for, all prisoners confined in the county jail. He shall perform such other duties the board imposes upon him.

Code 1950, § 15-291; 1952, c. 413; 1958, c. 112; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-608; 1972, c. 360; 1977, c. 584; 1984, c. 722; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-531. Department of education.

The department of education shall consist of the county school board, the division superintendent of schools and the officers and employees thereof. Except as herein otherwise provided, the county school board and the division superintendent of schools shall exercise the powers conferred and perform the duties imposed upon them by general law. The county school board shall be composed of not less than three nor more than seven members, who shall be chosen by the board of county supervisors. The exact number of members shall be determined by the board.

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the county school board in a county which is contiguous to a county having the urban county executive form of government shall consist of the same number of members as there are supervisors' election districts for the county, one member to be appointed from each of the districts by the board of county supervisors.

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

The chairman of the county school board, for the purpose of appearing before the board of county supervisors, shall be considered head of this department, unless the school board designates some other person in the department for such purpose.

Code 1950, § 15-292; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-609; 1980, c. 559; 1981, c. 246; 1988, cc. 102, 449; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-532. Terms of school boards.

The members of the county school board shall be appointed or reappointed, as the case may be, for terms of four years each, except that initial appointments hereunder may be for terms of one to four years, respectively, so as to provide staggered terms for such members.

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the terms of office of the school board members in a county which is contiguous to a county having the urban county executive form of government shall begin on July 1 of the year in which the board of supervisors takes office following the next general election for supervisors. However, all other applicable provisions of Titles 22.1 and 15.2 pertaining to the powers and duties of school boards and their appointments shall continue to apply to the members of such school board.

1966, c. 624, § 15.1-609.1; 1980, c. 559; 1986, c. 626; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-533. Elected school boards.

Notwithstanding any contrary provisions of §§ 15.2-531 and 15.2-532, 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.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-534. Department of health.

The department of health shall consist of the health director, who shall be appointed as provided in the applicable provisions of Article 5 (§ 32.1-30 et seq.) of Chapter 1 of Title 32.1 and who shall be head thereof, and the other officers and employees of such department. The head of the department shall exercise the powers conferred and shall perform the duties imposed upon the local health director by general law, not inconsistent herewith. He shall also perform such other duties as may be imposed upon him by the board or, if the health department is operated under contract with the State Board of Health, as specified in such contract.

If the board of county supervisors appoints a local board of health as provided in § 32.1-32, it shall consist of two qualified citizens of the county, who shall serve without pay, and the county health director. Such board may adopt necessary rules and regulations, not in conflict with law, concerning the department. The board of health may at any time be abolished by the board of county supervisors.

Code 1950, § 15-294; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-611; 1979, c. 719; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-535. Department of assessments.

The department of assessments, if and when established, shall be headed by a commissioner of the revenue or a supervisor of assessments, who shall exercise the powers conferred and perform the duties imposed by § 15.2-521 upon the director of finance.

In addition to the powers and duties hereinabove conferred, the governing body of any county which has provided for a department of assessments headed by a supervisor of assessments may, in lieu of the method now prescribed by law, provide for the annual assessment and equalization of assessments of real estate by such department. All real estate shall thereafter be assessed as of January 1 of each year. The provisions of this section shall not, however, apply to any real estate assessable under the law by the State Corporation Commission.

Code 1950, § 15-295; 1952, c. 500; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-612; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-536. Selection of clerk, attorney and sheriff.

The county clerk, the attorney for the Commonwealth and the sheriff shall be selected in the manner and for the terms, and vacancies in such offices shall be filled, as provided by general law.

Code 1950, § 15-297; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-614; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-537. Officers not affected by adoption of plan.

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

1. Jury commissioners;

2. County electoral boards;

3. Registrars;

4. Judges and clerks of elections; and

5. Magistrates.

Code 1950, § 15-338; 1950, p. 974; 1952, c. 37; 1962, cc. 596, 623, § 15.1-662; 1973, c. 545; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-538. 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 made by the Auditor of Public Accounts, under the provisions of law, may be considered as having satisfied the requirements of this paragraph.

The board may at any time order an examination or audit of the accounts of any officer or department of the county government. Upon the death, resignation, removal or expiration of the terms of any county officer, the director of finance shall cause an audit and investigation of the accounts of such officer to be made and shall report the results to the county executive and to the board. In case of the death, resignation or removal of the director of finance, the board shall cause an audit to be made of his accounts. 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, § 15-298; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-615; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-539. Submission of budget by executive; hearings; notice; adoption.

Each year at least two weeks before the board must prepare its proposed annual budget, the county executive shall prepare and submit to the board a budget presenting a financial plan for conducting the county's affairs for the ensuing year. The budget shall be set up in the manner prescribed by general law. Hearings thereon shall be held and notice thereof given and the budget adopted in accordance with general law.

Code 1950, § 15-300; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-617; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-540. Officers and employees to receive regular compensation; fee system abolished; collection and disposition of fees.

All county officers and employees shall be paid regular compensation and the fee system as a method of compensation in the county shall be abolished, except for those officers not affected by the adoption of this form of county organization and government. All such officers and employees shall, however, continue to collect all fees and charges provided for by general law, shall keep a record thereof, and shall promptly transmit all such fees and charges collected to the director of finance, who shall promptly provide receipt therefor. Such officers shall also keep such other records as are required by § 17.1-283. All fees and commissions, which, but for this section, would be paid to such officers by the Commonwealth for services rendered shall be paid into the county treasury.

Any excess of the fees collected by each of the officers mentioned in § 17.1-283 or collected by anyone exercising the powers of and performing the duties of any such officer, over (i) the allowance to which such officer would be entitled by general law but for the provisions of this section and (ii) expenses in such amount as allowed by the Compensation Board, shall be paid one third into the state treasury and two thirds to the county.

Any county officer or employee who fails or refuses to collect any fee which is collectible and should be collected under the provisions of this section, or who fails or refuses to pay any fee so collected to the county as herein provided, shall upon conviction be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 15-302; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-619; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-541. Bonds of officers.

The county executive shall give bond in the amount of not less than $5,000. The director of finance shall give bond in the amount of not less than fifteen percent of the amount of money to be received by him annually. If the county executive serves also as director of finance, he shall give bond in the full amounts indicated above. The board may fix bonds in excess of these amounts and require bonds of other county officers in their discretion, conditioned on the faithful discharge of their duties and the proper account for all funds coming into their possession.

Code 1950, § 15-304; 1952, c. 242; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-621; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-542. Employee benefits; residence in county.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the county board, in order to ensure its competitiveness as an employer, may by ordinance provide for the use of funds, other than state funds, to provide grants, loans, and other assistance for county and school board employees, as well as employees of local constitutional officers, to purchase or rent residences, for use as the employee's principal residence, within the county.

2007, cc. 288, 582.