The Chatham County Board of County Commissioners is composed of five members elected for four-year, staggered terms. They are the main policy making body for the county government, but their power over certain policy areas is restricted by law. For example, the Sheriff, Register of Deeds and the Soil and Water Conservation District Board are directly elected by the county voters.
In other cases, the Board of Commissioners also must work closely with departments whose directors are selected by state boards (Board of Elections) or university officials (Cooperative Extension).
Even so, the Board of Commissioners does have a great deal of voice in determining important policies affecting our daily lives, including land use planning, recreation, utilities, building inspections and permits, waste disposal and recycling, libraries, tourism and emergency response. They appoint all members of the Board of Health and the Economic Development Corporation and several members of the Board of Social Services.
They also play a key role in funding education at the K-12 and community college levels, even though education policies are determined by the Chatham County Board of Education and the Central Carolina Community College Board of Trustees.