By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Cleveland County commissioners faced a long list of annual renewal items as they started the new fiscal year Monday.
District 3 Commissioner Rusty Sullivan will serve as the board chair this year. Chair responsibilities are rotated annually. District 2 Commissioner Darry Stacy will serve as vice chair.
Stacy reminded residents to be careful with fireworks. Despite recent rains, there is always a risk of fire.
Sullivan said the Cleveland County tornado shelter registry is up and running on the county’s website at ccok.us. A Storm Shelter Registry icon is in the top right corner.
Sullivan said the county wants everyone to register their safe rooms and underground shelters to assist emergency responders in finding survivors after a storm.
Commissioners approved multiple contracts and blanket purchase orders on the first day of the new fiscal year. As a board, the commissioners have many administrative duties in addition to building roads and bridges.
As a unit, the Board of County Commissioners is the highest ruling body in the county. The BOCC enters into contracts on behalf of other county agencies, as well as approving purchase orders and awarding bids for county offices and departments. County commissioners are elected by their individual districts and serve those districts primarily for upkeep of roads and bridges.
In the case of emergencies such as the recent tornadoes, those duties may expand to include a wide range of cleanup and other services.
In addition, county commissioners often partner with local municipalities and partner agencies to provide services or complete road projects.
Cleveland County operates as a budget board, with each of the elected county officers serving on that board. Other elected county officers include the county clerk, court clerk, treasurer, assessor and the sheriff.
The district attorney is a state official and, in general, Oklahoma district attorneys serve multiple counties. District 21 DA Greg Mashburn serves Cleveland, Garvin and McClain counties. The district attorney is an elected position, and the DA’s employees are paid by the state. The county provides space for the district attorney’s offices but does not approve their contracts.
Judges are either elected or appointed, and the county provides their offices and courtrooms.
Each judge has a bailiff who serves as a secretary. Most of the bailiffs are state employees, but a couple of them are county employees. Court reporters are state employees.
Non-elected partner agencies: The Cleveland County Health Department is a hybrid agency.
The county owns and maintains health department facilities and approves contracts for the health department, but for the most part, the health department is a state agency staff with state employees. State programs and funding govern most of the health department’s operations.
The OSU Extension Office is similar to the heath department in that the state employees and state budget operate out of a county-owned and maintained building. Extension office contracts are approved by the county.
The election board is run by a state-appointed election board secretary who is a state employee. Other election board employees are paid by the county but are directly supervised by the election board secretary. The county owns and maintains the election board facilities and approves its contracts.
Boards, agencies and authorities: The Board of County Commissioners also approves contracts for the Fair Board, which receives its funding through the county. Fair board members are elected volunteers who live in the county.
County commissioners and the County Budget Board also oversee the building maintenance, purchasing and IT departments. Those departments are run under the direct supervision of the BOCC by non-elected, qualified county employees who serve as supervisors for employees in those departments.
The County Budget Board and the BOCC also provide assistance for some partner agencies such as the Women’s Resource Center and Crossroads Family Youth and Services. In some cases, that assistance is a financial contribution; in other cases, it may be low-rent or free rent and maintenance of a facility.
The BOCC is also responsible for serving on the Justice Authority, the Public Facilities Authority, the Home Loan Authority and other boards and authorities that channel funding for the jail, juvenile detention center and other county services.