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48. Duties of the Auditor.1 --- The auditor is the most important financial officer of the county.

I. He draws warrants on the treasurer for all lawful debts, claims, or demands against the county; or against any public corporation in the county whose funds are held by the treasurer. He must draw no warrants except on proper authority. Claims against the county must be allowed by the board of supervisors; claims against any school district must be allowed by the school board and approved by the county superintendent; claims against any other public corporation must be allowed by its board of trustees or directors. But even after a claim has been allowed, the auditor must make certain that the expenditure is authorized by the state law before he draws his warrant on the treasurer. To audit means to examine carefully. If the county supervisors or the trustees of any district, through mistake or otherwise, allow a claim or order an expenditure that is not authorized by the law, the auditor must refuse to pay it. It may be added that the treasurer may refuse to pay a bill after it has been audited, if he thinks that the state law does not clearly authorize the expenditure. In such a case, the district attorney, or possibly the courts, would have to settle the matter.

2. He must examine and settle the accounts of all persons who are in debt to the county, and must certify the amount in each case to the treasurer.

3. He must present to the board of supervisors at each regular meeting a detailed statement showing the exact condition of the finances of the county. This is in addition to the joint report made by him and the treasurer every three months.

1 Political Code, $ 3727 seq., $ 4091 seq.

4. He must examine the books of the treasurer once a month and see that they have been correctly kept.

5. He must, together with the district attorney, and the president of the board of supervisors, count the money in the county treasury once a month; and he must each time file with the county clerk a statement showing the amount of money that ought to be in the treasury, and the amount and kind of money actually found to be there.

6. From the assessment roll and tax rate, he must compute the amount of tax to be collected on each item of taxable property in the county, and must turn the tax bills over to the tax collector. He thus knows in advance what the tax is to be, and charges the tax collector with the amount.

49. Duties of the Recorder.1 – 1. The recorder keeps an official record, or copy, of all papers that in any way affect the title to any real estate in the county; such as deeds, mortgages, wills, contracts, decisions of court, etc.

Personal property may be bought and sold by verbal agreement; but land can be bought and sold only by written agreement. The agreement, or deed, must be drawn up in proper form, and must be sworn to and recorded exactly according to law. If A sells land to B, the transaction is not complete and the land does not belong to B, even though he may have paid the money and received the deed, until the deed has been filed for record in the office of the recorder. The recorder's books are open to the public in order that any one may investigate the title to any piece of land in the county. To do this is no simple matter, however, and abstract companies are organized for the purpose of searching the records to determine land titles for interested persons.

2. He records mortgages placed on personal property. 3. He records marriage certificates; and keeps a record of all births and deaths in the county, except in so far as this is done by city health officers.

i Political Code, $ 4130 seq.

4. He records the official bonds of county officers.

5. He must receive and keep on file in his office, building contracts, plans, and specifications. When one lets a contract for building a house, the law does not require that a copy of the contract shall be filed in the office of the recorder; but if this should not be done, and a dispute should later arise between the owner and the contractor, the injured party would find it difficult to obtain satisfaction.

6. He issues burial permits as stated in the following paragraph.

50. Duties of the Coroner.1 -1. The coroner must hold an inquest over the body of every person in the county who has been killed, or has died in some unusual manner, or from some unknown cause, or under suspicious circumstances. An inquest is an inquiry conducted in the presence of a jury of six or more men, who must take notice of all the circumstances in the case, listen to the testimony of witnesses, and render a verdict if possible as to the cause of death. The coroner may employ a chemist or a physician to assist at any inquest.

No human body can lawfully be buried, or moved from the locality where the death occurred, without a burial permit. Burial permits are usually issued on the presentation of physicians' certificates giving the cause of death; but in every case where no physician has been in charge the permit is issued after an inquest has been held. Burial permits are issued in our larger cities by health officers; in smaller towns by the town clerks; and in country districts by county recorders, or deputies called subregistrars, appointed by them for

that purpose.

i Political Code, $ 4143.

2. If, after an inquest has been held, the jury charges some one with murder, the coroner has power to issue a warrant for his arrest.

3. After every inquest he must deliver to the county treasurer, or to the legal representatives of the deceased, any money or other property found on the body.

4. He must keep an accurate record of every inquest, giving the name of the deceased, if possible; the cause of death, when known; the property found on the body; and any information that might be of service in identifying the deceased if unknown.

5. He must give a decent burial to any human body that is not claimed for burial by some friend or relative.

Any justice of the peace in the county may perform the duties of the coroner in any case when the coroner is unable to act. The coroner may perform the duties of sheriff when the latter cannot act.

51. Duties of the Surveyor. - I. The surveyor must do all surveying work that may be required by the board of supervisors or by the superior court. The supervisors need his services when laying out new roads, or in locating the boundaries of subdivisions of the county, such as judicial townships, road districts, school districts, etc. The superior court may require him to locate the boundaries of any piece of land that may be in dispute before the court.

2. "He must make surveys for private individuals who request him to do so and pay the fees required by law.

3. He must make correct maps of the various subdivisions of the county, and keep them in his office, as the property of the county.

i Political Code, $ 4214 seq.

4. He is the county engineer, and must do such engineering work as may be required by the board of supervisors.

5. He must assist the surveyor-general of the state in making such surveys for the state as are necessary in the county. Such surveys are made, for example, in the building of state roads, and in locating the boundaries of state lands.

52. County School Officers. - The schools of every county should be studied in connection with the state school system. The state system should be studied as a unit, and Chapter XIV is devoted to that purpose. The duties of the county superintendent of schools and of the county board of education will therefore be found in Chapter XIV.

53. Superior Judges and Justices of the Peace. Each county elects at least one superior judge, and each judicial township elects at least one justice of the peace. The powers and duties of the superior judges and justices of the peace are discussed in Chapter XV, which is devoted to the state judicial system.

54. Duties of the Sheriff.? --- The most important duties of the sheriff are as follows:

1. He is the county peace officer. That is, he must arrest all persons that commit, or attempt to commit, or are charged before the courts with having committed, public offenses; and he must "prevent and suppress any affrays, breaches of the peace, riots, and insurrections which may come to his knowledge.” In the discharge of these duties he may compel as many of the able-bodied men of his county as may be necessary to assist him.


1 Political Code, $ 1543 seq., § 1768 seq. 2 Ibid., $ 4157 seq.

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