What Does A County Commissioner Do?

What does a County Commissioner do?
What does a county commissioner do? 

That’s a question I get asked a lot.

In Lincoln County, we’re full-time, paid officials, same as in most of the medium-sized counties in Oregon. 

We set policy for the county at our weekly business meetings and through the public budget process, we also have oversight of the day-to-day operations of the county. That means each commissioner supervises a group of county department directors.

We also hire and evaluate county department directors, which is one of the least understood aspects of our job. Good managers make a huge amount of difference in maintaining and improving the quality of our work for the public.

In addition to governing the county itself, we also serve as directors of regional entities like the Cascades West COG (Senior and Disability services, economic development and transportation policy) and the Community Services Consortium (Head Start, energy assistance, the career tech high schools and more).

Although it’s not formally established in written policy or ordinances, each commissioner has also developed focus areas of expertise for policy work at the local, state and federal levels. In my case, it’s been housing, homelessness, health care (especially mental health and addictions services) and veterans services.

I’ve been working for a better life for the citizens of Lincoln County for 16 years, and I love my job. Why? There’s something different every day. It’s a constant learning and growth experience. But I’m not here for me. I’m here to serve you and do what I can to make your life better. With a lot of help from a lot of good people, I feel like I’ve made a lot of headway on that goal. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.


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