As with all Ohio counties with the exception of Summit, Henry County is organized under general statutory law and has three county commissioners. The county commissioner elected during the gubernatorial election takes office on January 1, and the two commissioners elected at the presidential election take office on either January 2 or 3. Candidates for these two commissioner positions file for either the January 2 or 3 position.
The Board of County Commissioners is the policymaking
and legislative body of this county. The commissioners
hold title to all property owned by Henry County. The Board
must annually approve Henry County’s general fund and
all-funds budgets, and is the County government's taxing,
appropriating and purchasing authority. There is, by
law, a limitation to the Commissioner's authority in some
matters involving other elected officials' offices, as powers
are separated in county government. There is no chief executive
officer, rather each of our eleven elected officials possess
some executive authority. Commissioners also have a myriad
of other responsibilities, including hearing and ruling on
annexations, approving drainage improvements through the petition
ditch process, establishing water and sewer districts, and
making improvements and providing for solid waste disposal.
The Board appoints department heads of offices for which they
have responsibility, and also appoints members to a variety
of other boards and commissions.
Individual commissioners have no power to act independently.
The Board of County Commissioners, acting as a body by a majority
or unanimous vote, must take all formal and official actions.
Each commissioner does sit on a number of other organizational
boards throughout the county, region and state, including
but not limited to: the Board of Revisions, Community Improvement
Corporation (CIC), Corrections Commission of NW Ohio (CCNO),
NW Ohio Juvenile Detention Center, County Risk Sharing Authority
(CORSA), EMS, Family & Children First, Litter Advisory
and Solid Waste Policy Committees, Local Emergency Planning
Committee (LEPC), Maumee Valley Planning Organization (MVPO),
Maumee Valley RC&D, Railroad Safety Task Force, Planning
Commission, Humane Society Advisory Board, Senior Center,
American Red Cross, Transportation Board, Homeland Security
Advisory, Health District Advisory Council, and the Workforce
Policy Board. As county government is also an administrative
agent of state government, commissioners frequently comment
to members of state government either directly or through
the County Commissioners Association of Ohio.
Unlike municipalities, counties may perform only those governmental
functions specifically authorized by state law and in the
manner specified in law. If the Ohio Revised Code is silent
on a subject, counties do not possess the authority to act;
therefore, they do not posses home rule authority. For example,
county commissioners are without authority to license and
control cats, as they do dogs, because the ORC is silent on
the subject. Municipalities, however, are free to enact an
ordinance requiring licensing of cats.
It is the non-statutory duties of county commissioners that
make them different from other county elected officials. By
necessity, county commissioners must take a broad view of
actions necessary to make the county a better place to live
and work. Many commissioners are thus active in promoting
public/private partnerships in human services, economic development,
health, and infrastructure development. Other commissioners
take an active role in improving the environment, promoting
job training programs, and improving agriculture in their
counties. County commissioners must be astute and have good
business sense. Perhaps the most important attribute of a
county commissioner is the ability to lead, to listen to the
needs of the citizens and other elected officials, to compromise,
and to develop a consensus on priority issues to improve the
The organizational meeting of the Board of County Commissioners
(ORC 305.05) occurs on the second Monday of January each year,
when they must organize, elect a president and appoint a clerk.
The Commissioners must hold at least 50 regular meetings per
year (ORC 305.06) and as many special meetings as necessary
to conduct their business. The salaries of commissioners
are established by state law, and are based on population.
To schedule appointments, please contact
Clerk Lisa Sugg