The job of the county commissioner calls for hands-on service delivery, as well as policy-making decisions about a variety of important matters.
Four commissioners, each elected from a quarter of the county's population, serve along with the county judge on the commissioners court. Many people know that the commissioners court is responsible for building and maintaining the roads and bridges of the county. In your county, your commissioner may have individual responsibility for the roads in his precinct or county road maintenance may be centralized under a unit road system.
The commissioners court also has the responsibility to adopt the budget and tax rate that is sufficient to fund the personnel, equipment and infrastructure necessary to deliver the services provided by the county. Typically, the commissioners court is responsible for conducting business on behalf of the county, and only the commissioners court can enter into contracts on behalf of the county.
The commissioners court does much more than maintain roads and adopt a budget and a tax rate. County government’s operations are often tailored to meet the needs and resources of the community, so the programs overseen by the commissioners court may vary from county to county. In a typical county, the commissioners court also establish precinct boundaries for commissioners and justices of the peace, determine the number and type of county employees and their compensation, acquire property for rights of way or other public uses, adopt and enforce subdivision regulations, provides rural ambulance services and subsidizes rural fire protection, and supervises and controls the county courthouse and other county buildings and facilities.
As with all elected county officials, the commissioner who serves as an ex officio road commissioner has ultimate authority over the operations of the office, including the authority to hire and fire personnel and direct their daily activities. The county commissioner also has authority to determine how to use all other resources allocated to the office during the budget process.