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COUNTY GOVERNMENT— COUNTY OFFICERS
COUNTY OFFICERS, TERMS OF OFFICE, AND
35. County Officers. - A California county has the fol
lowing officers :
I. Elective Officers 1. The Board of Supervisors. 11. The Superior Judge 2. The County Clerk.
or Judges. 3. The Assessor.
12. The Justices of the 4. The Tax Collector.
Peace. 5. The Treasurer.
13. The Sheriff and Con6. The Auditor.
stables. 7. The Recorder.
14. The District Attorney. 8. The Coroner.
15. The Public Adminis9. The Surveyor.
trator. 10. The Superintendent of
II. Appointive Officers A. The Board of Supervisors must appoint: 16. Four members of the County Board of Education, the
County Superintendent being a fifth member. 17. A County Health Officer. 18. A Horticultural Commissioner, if requested by twentyfive interested persons.
B. The Board of Supervisors may appoint:19. A Live Stock Inspector. 20. A Fish and Game Warden. 21. An Inspector of Apiaries. 22. Roadmasters; Superintendents of County Farms, Hos
pitals, and Detention Houses; and other minor offi
cers and employees. C. The Superior Court appoints: 23. A Court Commissioner. 24. A Court Reporter for each judge of the court.
D. The Judge of the Juvenile Court appoints : 25. A Probation Committee. 26. A Probation Officer, and such assistants as the law pro
36. Terms of Office. — The term of office of all elective officers is four years, except that of superior judges, which is six years. The regular county election is held at the same time as the state election; that is, on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November every fourth year (1910, 1914, 1918, etc.). All elective officers, except supervisors, justices of the peace, and constables, are elected by the county at large. Officers assume the duties of their respective offices on the first Monday after the first day of January next succeeding their election. Appointive officers serve for terms of different lengths. For example, the horticultural commissioner is appointed for four years; the fish and game warden, and the probation officer and his assistants, for two years; the health officer, for one year; the live stock inspector, and other officers and employees, each during the pleasure of the appointing power.
37. Official Bonds. — All elective county officers, except
. superior judges, are required to furnish official bonds. The official bond of an officer is the written promise of some other responsible person, or corporation, to the effect that if the officer does not do his duty “well and truly,” the person or corporation making the promise will pay into the county treasury the amount mentioned in the bond. The supervisors fix the amount of all official bonds except their own; the amount of theirs is fixed by the superior judge, or judges, of the county. All bondsmen must be acceptable to the superior judge or judges. All official bonds are recorded in the recorder's office and are then filed with the county clerk; the clerk's bond is filed with the treasurer.
38. Vacancies and Salaries. — A vacancy in the office of superior judge or supervisor is filled, until the next election, by the governor of the state. A A vacancy in any other elective county or township office is filled by the board of supervisors.
The compensation of county officers is fixed by state law. The state constitution requires that all laws pertaining to the government of counties shall be general laws; that is, the legislature is forbidden to pass a law for any particular county. But the constitution permits the legislature to divide the counties into classes, in proportion to their population, for the purpose of establishing the salaries of county officers. There are fifty-eight counties in the state, and the legislature has divided them into fifty-eight classes. (See Appendix C for statistics.) Thus the law which fixes the salaries of county and township officers is really a special law for each county, although it is in the form of a general law; and when it states that in all counties of the first class the various officers shall receive such and such
salaries, Los Angeles county is the only county affected, because it is the only one of the first class. Not only does the law fix the salary of each officer, but it also states the number of deputies, clerks, and other employees that each may appoint, and names their salaries. Certain officers receive no fixed salaries in most counties, but are permitted to retain the fees collected from the people whom they serve. This is true of the county surveyors, coroners, and public administrators, and of township justices of the peace and constables. The amount to be collected as fees in each case is definitely determined by law.
39. The Consolidation of County Offices. — In counties of small population the supervisors are permitted to, and frequently do, consolidate county offices so that one man may serve as sheriff and tax collector; auditor and recorder; clerk, auditor, and recorder; coroner and public administrator;
or the like. When one man holds two or more offices, he receives their combined salaries,
40. The Uniformity of County Government. — All the counties of the state, except the incorporated city and county of San Francisco, and counties that have adopted charters (see note, p. 55), are governed according to the provisions of certain acts of the legislature, the most important of which is the “ County Government Act.”
” The government is, therefore, uniform; that is, all counties have the same officers, - except for some variation in the appointive officers, — and the powers and duties of the corresponding officers are the same in all counties.
This uniformity may seem to be broken if advantage is taken of the constitutional amendment of 1911 which permits counties, with the approval of the legislature, to adopt
1 Justices of the peace will be paid salaries after 1914.
charters. (Article XI, section 72.) But such charters must provide for the election or appointment of practically the same officers as are found in counties that are governed according to general laws; and their powers and duties must be the same. The uniformity of county government in its essential features will therefore not be disturbed. The lack of uniformity will appear only in respect to the manner of selecting officers, their terms of office, their compensation, and the manner of filling vacancies.
THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
41. Organization. — The board of supervisors of each county, except the incorporated city and county of San Francisco, consists of five members. Each member is elected for four years by one of the five supervisorial districts into which the county is divided. Either two or three are elected every even-numbered year.
The board elects one of its members chairman. The county clerk or a deputy appointed by him is its secretary. Three members constitute a quorum, and the concurrence of three is necessary to pass a measure.? The board must hold regular meetings at the county seat as often as it shall determine. Special meetings may be held at any time.
“All meetings must be public, and the books, records, and accounts of the board must be kept at the
1 Provision must be made for such officers as are required to be elected or appointed in other counties. The amendment permits such charters to provide for necessary additional officers, which may or may not be the same as those that are appointed in other counties at the discretion of the supervisors.
2 An act of the board may be a simple order, a resolution, or an ordinance. The word law should be reserved for the acts of Congress and state legislatures. An order or resolution of the board of supervisors may take effect at once, but an ordinance cannot be enforced for fifteen days, during which time it must be published for at least one week. (See $ 72.)