Government Structure


The large variety of executive formats in county government is a result of history, local needs, and state regulations.


There are over 700 county executives in the United States that follow a modified version of the county executive form of government. In Kentucky, for example, counties use the title Judge/executive but assign the elected officials county executive responsibilities. By comparison, New York City is divided into boroughs and managed by an elected official with the title of Borough President. Each president, however, has centralized executive authority to carry out local services similar to that of a county executive.


County governments can, and do, change formats. Some, such as Denver, Colorado, combine city and county governments under one structure. Others, such as Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh area) and Salt Lake County, UT, have moved from a Board of Commissioners format to a county executive format.


No matter what form of government a county chooses, County Executives of America encourages counties to create a government that will deliver local services effectively and efficiently in a way that will best suit the needs of its citizens.