I am frequently asked what an Ada County commissioner does. County commissioners in all 44 counties around the state do pretty much the same thing – we just do it 44 different ways. For a county the size of ours, with 408,000 residents, this position is full-time and then some.
In Ada County, my two Commission colleagues and I are responsible for setting the county’s annual budget, which will be $171 million with the start of the new fiscal year on October 1. We are also the only people with the authority to pay the bills and contract on behalf of the county.
We are ultimately responsible for a workforce of about 1600 employees, although the six other county elected officials – the sheriff, prosecutor, coroner, clerk, treasurer and assessor – run their own operations.
When the county gets sued, the three of us are always named as defendants and we are responsible for working with the prosecutor’s civil attorneys to defend the county against claims, on behalf of county taxpayers.
Late June and early July, we serve as the Board of Equalization, hearing hundreds of property valuation appeals.
Other departments and divisions we oversee include: Emergency Medical Services – the county’s ambulance district, development services, juvenile detention, risk management, human resources, employee benefits, purchasing, training, business process services, communications, indigent services, weed & pest, mosquito abatement, the landfill, parks & waterways, Expo Idaho and the Western Idaho Fair. We also perform quarterly jail inspections.
In addition to our internal county responsibilities, we have a number of external responsibilities, as well, such as serving on the Boards of the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho, and Valley Regional Transit.
I enjoy the public service aspect of this position – being able to cut unnecessary costs, while ensuring the efficient, effective provision of services to our community.