Overview & Structure of Government

Government Branches

Like most governments, Dinwiddie has three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. The judicial branch is an independent branch in local, state, and federal government. Unlike state and federal government where the executive and legislative branches are independent, Dinwiddie’s Board of Supervisors is the legislative branch and shares control of the executive branch of government.

Legislative Branch

The Board of Supervisors is elected by districts, serves four-year terms, and its legislative responsibilities include:

  • Adoption of the county budget and appropriating funds
  • Setting tax rates
  • Appointing members to authorities, commissions and committees
  • Constructing county buildings and approving a Capital Improvement Program
  • Adopting the county’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan, Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance and considering land use matters generally
  • Adopting ordinances for law enforcement, sanitation, health and other regulations permitted by state law

Executive Branch – Traditional Form of Government

Under Virginia’s Traditional Form of Government established in the Constitution of 1870, citizens of the county elect five Constitutional Officers; Clerk of the Circuit Court, Commissioner of the Revenue, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Sheriff and Treasurer.

The board appoints two officers; a County Administrator as the chief administrative officer of county government and clerk to the board and the County Attorney.

The County Administrator, the Constitutional Officers, and the County Attorney share responsibilities for county government operations. The board approves budgets and appropriations for all county agencies.

The duties of the county administrator can be summarized in terms of three broad functions. The county administrator executes the policies established by the board or mandated by the state, prepares and administers the budget and supervises the county departments. As adviser to the board of supervisors, the county administrator keeps the board informed of the county’s financial and administrative conditions and presents, with recommendations, various policy options for the board’s consideration. Finally, as the public representative of the board, the county administrator represents the governing body corporate and interprets the board’s actions to the public and to other bodies with which the board of supervisors and the county may have responsibilities at the state and local levels.