The duties of county boards of commissioners vary from state to state and may include enacting local ordinances, budgeting, overseeing spending and hiring county employees, states HowStuffWorks. Some states refer to commissioners as supervisors, while New Jersey refers to people holding these offices as chosen freeholders.
The specific duties of boards of commissioners may include issuing bonds, managing pensions for county employees, administering courts and jails, and collecting property and sales taxes, notes HowStuffWorks. Because of growing suburban populations, some boards of commissioners are also responsible for overseeing consumer protection, economic planning and social welfare programs. Boards of commissioners usually comprise three to five officials, and state constitutions and statutes define their duties. State courts can overturn the actions of boards of commissioners.
In some states, county employees such as sheriffs and treasurers are elected rather than appointed by boards of commissioners, according to HowStuffWorks. In response to criticism regarding a lack of executive leaders on boards of commissioners, some states have modified their county governments to include administrators that the boards of commissioners appoint. These administrators take over duties such as preparing budgets and hiring employees. Other states have done away with boards of commissioners in favor of electing county executives along with county legislative bodies.