Under the Texas Constitution and statutes, the powers in county government are widely distributed to a variety of elected officials. Generally, the commissioners court controls the county financial expenditures through the budget, and the other elected officials perform the duties of their offices within these budget restraints. The Attorney General Opinions and court decisions have provided some answers to the many questions that are raised by this balance of power system. See Attorney General Opinion No. GA-0322 (2005) for a good analysis of these issues.
The following are some common questions on this subject:
Who determines the number of employees in each department?
Commissioners court. A county officer shall apply to the commissioners court for authority to appoint employees. See Section 151.001(a), Local Government Code. Normally, this authority is granted by establishing the positions within the county budget.
Who determines the salaries, benefits, and other compensation of employees within each department?
Commissioners court. The commissioners court is charged with the legislative power of budget-making and the authority to set the compensation of county employees, including amending the compensation during the county fiscal year. See Chapter 111, L.G.C. and Section 152. 011, L.G.C.
Who hires, fires and supervises the employees within each department?
The elected official. See Commissioners Court of Shelby County v. Ross, 809 S.W.2d 754 (Tex. App.