Article 3 The Executive Branch

Section 3.10 Composition and Powers.

The executive branch shall be composed of the County Executive, the County Assessor, the County Auditor, the County Treasurer, the County Sheriff, the officers and employees of administrative offices and executive departments established by this Charter or created by the County Council and the members of boards and commissions, except boards which have quasi-judicial powers. The executive branch shall have all executive powers of the County under this Charter. (Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A)

Section 3.20 The County Executive.

The County Executive is the Chief Executive Officer of Whatcom County.

Section 3.21 Election and Term of Office.

The County Executive shall be nominated and elected by the voters of the county, and the term of office shall be four years and until the successor is elected and qualified. (Ord. 2011-026 Exh. A; Amended by referendum 1986)

Section 3.22 Powers and Duties.

As Chief Executive Officer, the County Executive shall have all the executive powers of the County which are not expressly vested in other specific elective officers by this Charter. The County Executive shall have the power to:

(a) Supervise all administrative offices and executive departments established by this Charter or created by the County Council.

(b) Execute and enforce all ordinances and state statutes within the county.

(c) Present to the County Council an annual statement of the governmental affairs of the County and any other report which may be deemed necessary.

(d) Prepare and present to the County Council budgets and a budget message setting forth proposals for the County during the next fiscal year.

(e) Prepare and present to the County Council comprehensive plans including capital improvement plans for the present and future development of the county.

(f) Veto any ordinance adopted by the County Council except as otherwise provided in this Charter.

(g) Assign duties to administrative offices and executive departments which are not specifically assigned by this Charter or by ordinance.

(h) Sign or cause to be signed, on behalf of the County, all claims, deeds, contracts and other instruments.

The specific statement of particular executive powers shall not be construed as limiting the executive powers of the County Executive. (Amended by referendum 1986; Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A)

Section 3.23 Appointments by County Executive and Confirmation.

The County Executive shall appoint the chief officer of each executive and administrative department and office, except all elected offices; and shall appoint the members of all boards and commissions except as otherwise provided in this Charter. The appointments by the County Executive shall be subject to confirmation by a majority of the County Council. The County Executive may appoint a confidential secretary and administrative assistant without Council confirmation. The term of office of any board or commission member shall not be longer than four (4) years. Terms of members of boards and commissions shall be limited to two (2) consecutive full terms.

Section 3.24 Appointments by the Chief Officers.

The chief officer of each administrative office and executive department shall appoint all officers and employees of the office or department and shall comply with the rules of the personnel system when appointing officers and employees to positions covered by the personnel system. (Amended by referendum 1986)

Section 3.25 Qualifications.

The chief officers appointed by the County Executive shall be appointed on the basis of their abilities, qualifications, integrity and prior experience concerning the duties of the office to which they shall be appointed.

Section 3.26 Executive Pro Tempore.

The County Council, at its annual election, by majority vote, may designate one of its number as Executive Pro Tempore, or in lieu thereof, the Council may appoint any qualified person to serve as Executive Pro Tempore.

The Executive Pro Tempore shall hold office at the pleasure of the Council, and in case of the absence or temporary disability of the Executive, perform the duties of Executive except the Executive Pro Tempore shall not have power to appoint or remove any officer, or to veto any acts of the County Council. (Amended by referendum 1986)

Section 3.30 Administrative Offices.

The administrative offices of Whatcom County shall consist of those agencies of the executive branch which primarily provide administrative services for the various agencies of County government. (Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A)

Section 3.40 The Executive Offices.

The executive offices shall consist of the departments of the County Assessor, the County Auditor, the County Treasurer, the County Sheriff and those agencies of the executive branch which are primarily engaged in the execution and enforcement of ordinances and statutes concerning the public peace, health and safety and which furnish or provide governmental services directly to or for the residents of Whatcom County.

Section 3.50 Other Elected Officials

Other elected officials include the Assessor, Auditor, Treasurer and Sheriff.

Section 3.51 Election and Term of Office.

There is hereby created by the adoption of this Charter the office of County Assessor, County Auditor, County Treasurer and County Sheriff. These elected officers shall be nominated and elected by the voters of the county, and their terms of office shall be four years and until their successors are elected and qualified. (Ord. 2011-026 Exh. A; Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A)

Section 3.52 Powers and Duties.

The County Assessor and Sheriff created by adoption of this Charter shall have the powers and duties of their respective offices as provided by general law, provided that these offices and those of the Auditor and Treasurer shall be subject to the personnel, budgeting and any other policies set by the County Council.

The County Auditor shall be the recorder of deeds and other instruments which are required by law to be filed and recorded in the County; shall issue licenses and other records, as specified in County law and as an agent of the state; shall certify and administer all elections within the County, as part of these duties shall publish and distribute a local voters pamphlet for all primary and general elections, and maintain voter rolls and records; shall audit County financial systems, records, and management procedures for compliance with recognized accounting principles and conformance to federal, state, and County laws, policies, and procedures; shall insure the adequacy and standing of County finances through certification of an annual financial report; and shall perform other duties as specified by County law.

The County Treasurer shall be the official responsible for tax and assessment billing and receipt of money due the County; shall disburse funds for the County; shall be responsible for banking relationships, cash and debt management, and investment of funds; shall maintain necessary records and submit regular reports on treasury activities; and shall perform other duties as specified by County law. (Ord. 93-043; Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A; amended by referendum 2005)

Section 3.53 Appointments by Elected Officials.

The County Assessor, Auditor, Treasurer, and Sheriff each shall hire all officers and employees of the office or department and shall comply with the rules of the personnel system when appointing officers and employees to positions covered by the personnel system. (Amended by referendum 1986)

Section 3.54 Qualifications.

The chief officers appointed by the County Assessor, Auditor, Treasurer, and Sheriff shall be appointed on the basis of their abilities, qualifications, integrity and prior experience concerning the duties of the office to which they shall be appointed.

Section 3.55 County Prosecuting Attorney.

The County Prosecuting Attorney shall have all the powers, authorities and duties granted to and imposed upon a Prosecuting Attorney by State law.

Section 3.60 Appointed Executive Officers.

The appointed Officers are the Clerk of the Superior Court and the County Medical Examiner.

Section 3.61 Clerk of the Superior Court.

The Clerk of the Superior Court shall be appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by a majority of the County Council from a list of at least three candidates submitted to them by the Superior Court Judges. Except as provided in this section, the Clerk shall be subject to the personnel, budgeting, purchasing, property control and records management systems as provided in this Charter, or by any ordinance or resolution as the Council may direct.

Section 3.62 County Medical Examiner.

The County Medical Examiner shall be appointed by the County Executive from applicants approved by the Whatcom County Medical Society and the County Sheriff and shall be confirmed by the County Council. The Medical Examiner shall have an M.D. or D.O. degree and be licensed to practice medicine in this state. The Medical Examiner shall perform duties as prescribed by general law or by ordinances or resolutions adopted by the Council and shall receive compensation as determined by the Council. The Council shall declare by ordinance that the responsibility for property of the deceased be delegated to an officer of the court or county other than the Medical Examiner.