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Executive vs. Legislative Duties

The referendum to simplify county government aligns executive duties with one elected County Executive and gives legislative and fiscal duties to the County Council. So what does that separation of power and assignment of responsibility really mean?

A County Executive has the power to formulate county policy, install and remove county positions, develop a budget, and approve or veto ordinances or resolutions proposed by the County Council. He or she also oversees county services including criminal justice, social and health services, welfare, waste treatment, taxes, administrative services, business and economic development, recreation, disaster and natural/environmental assistance, and other programs specific to the needs of the county. In short, the elected County Executive oversees the day-to-day operations of the county, much like a mayor of a city.

But there is a system of checks and balances to this role. The County Executive is required to submit his or her proposals to the County Council for review. The County Council is given authority by the state constitution and state law to make local law. By staying on top of important issues and current events, meeting with constituents and advisors, and conducting research, the County Council can make informed changes to existing laws or pass new legislation based on their constituents’ needs. They operate much like a City Council.

How is this different from the current structure? Today, both executive and legislative duties are held by three County Commissioners. There is no clear hierarchy or division of authority. Under the new structure, a single County Executive would be accountable for the executive duties entirely.

The current County Council is made up of seven members, four of whom are assigned to four districts and three at-large. Under the new structure, there would be nine County Council members and nine districts, so districts would get smaller, allowing each voice within to get larger. Additionally, the County Council would handle legislative duties entirely.

Splitting executive and legislative responsibilities and assigning clear responsibilities will make Allen County government more accountable and efficient. The Advance Allen referendum is a big vote for less government. Learn more at AdvanceAllen.com. And this November, vote yes.


© Julianne Will 2018