Amy Johnson

Supervisor for 6 Months

Supervisor Amy Johnson shares her experiences during her six-month appointment to the Linn County Board of Supervisors.

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Jul 21

What does the Board of Supervisors do?

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 9:04 AM by Amy Johnson

At the conclusion of a recent Linn County Board of Supervisors meeting, a gentleman approached me and asked me a question.

“What do you do?” he said. “I mean, what does a supervisor actually do?”

I paused for a moment and was reminded that’s probably a very common question. I’m sure that many county residents don’t fully understand the scope of a supervisor’s job description. I know that I didn’t before I began working for the county in May.

With that in mind, here’s a broad overview. Let’s call it “Supervisor 101”:

In city government, key decisions and the responsibility to carry out the directives of the city council are often delegated to a city manager or city administrator. In some cities, the mayor is responsible for supervisory duties. In either case, the council has legislative responsibility and the manager/administrator or mayor has executive responsibility. 

But in county government, the Board of Supervisors is charged with both legislative and executive responsibility.

The Board of Supervisors oversees 14 Linn County departments. The supervisors not only determine the county’s $107 million budget; we manage it. The board determines county policies and guides the strategic direction of the county. And we are the final authority regarding many decisions that impact the lives of Linn County residents.

The truth is, a supervisor’s job is so big and so broad, it’s very hard to describe. I tell my fellow supervisors that I still can’t believe I’m one of five people who are in charge of so much. From social services, to public health, to parks and land use planning – and everything in between – the Board of Supervisors is the governing body of the county. It’s a tremendous honor and responsibility.

So now that I’ve briefly explained my current job description, my next blog will chronicle a “typical” work week. Just like snowflakes, no two are the same!