Elected Official Job Descriptions
Below are job descriptions for City Council, School Board, County Commissioner, Mayor, General Assembly, and Council of State. These are not meant to serve as all-encompassing descriptions of each of these offices, but rather a synopsis of the primary duties for each of these offices. On each sheet is a broad range of how much a campaign for each office would cost. Thank you to EMILY’s List and Lead NC for helping us compile these.
City, Town, and Village Councils
Within North Carolina incorporated municipalities are either designated as cities, towns, or villages. There is no legal difference between the three so the overview of city councils should apply equally to town and village councils.
City councils are composed of a set number of council members with the specific number varying from municipality to municipality. These council members can be elected from either specific blocks or wardens within the municipality or they can be elected at large by the whole population.
Depending on the municipality you could either see councils elected purely from either method or from a mixture of the two.
In most municipalities the councils are chaired by a mayor (also termed president within some locations) who typically only has a vote should the council have a tie vote. There are cases where the mayor or president is a regularly voting member of the board and others where the mayor is purely ceremonial.
Typically the council hires a city manager to administer the day to day affairs of the city.
Common city council responsibilities include:
Approximate cost for campaign: $2,000 to $20,000
School boards within North Carolina are elected from districts within the population serviced by the local school system.
The state board of education dictates statewide policy including the core curriculum. Within the guidelines outlined by the state board, the local boards oversee the creation of local policy.
The school board accepts funds from the federal, state, county commission, and municipality level of governance in exchange for following policy stipulations attached to the money supplied. The school board does not have any authority to directly implement any tax.
The school board hires a superintendent to handle the day to day affairs of the school system as well as implement the school board policies.
School boards responsibilities include:
Approximate cost of campaign: $200 to $6,000
County commissions within North Carolina typically operate under a council – manager system. This means that the council formulates the county policy and financial decisions and the council hires a manager to implement these policies as well as manage the day to day affairs of the county.
The council portion of the commission is a group of 3 or more people elected either from the population at large, from already designated districts within the county, or from a mixture of both.
Typically the election of the board is staggered so that the whole board never comes up for election at one time.
The responsibilities of the council of the county commission include:
Approximate Cost for campaign: $25,000 to $150,000
In North Carolina, the NC General Assembly grants a charter for a municipal corporation (city, town, or village). There is no legal difference between the three designations.
Each municipality is governed by an elected board (the city or town council). The form of government is designated within the charter for each respective municipality. Municipalities may choose between two major forms, with some opting for a variation of one.
Mayor-Council: This form is often implemented when there is no municipality manager. Responsibilities of the mayor may include:
Approximate cost for campaign: $30,000 to $550,000
North Carolina’s legislative body is called the General Assembly. The General Assembly can make or enact new laws, amend existing laws, and repeal existing laws. These laws may affect all individuals in the state of North Carolina or local communities.
Members of the General Assembly serve two-year terms. Legislators take office on January 1 the year following their elections. In order to be elected, a person must live in the district he or she plans to represent and must have lived there for at least one year. The candidate must also be registered to vote in North Carolina.
The General Assembly consists of two houses: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives has 120 members; the Senate has 50. To serve in the House of Representatives, a person must be at least 21 years old. To serve in the Senate, the minimum age is 25.
The General Assembly’s regular session begins at 12:00 noon on the third Wednesday after the second Monday in January of each odd-numbered year. After this, each house meets in its respective chambers Monday evenings, in the afternoon Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and Friday mornings until the session is adjourned. The General Assembly reconvenes for a shorter session in the following even- numbered year.
Approximate cost for campaign: NC House – $250,000 to $550,000 NC Senate - $500,000 to $1,000,000
Council of State
Within North Carolina’s government, the Council of State is the elected part of the executive branch. Each member of the Council of State is chosen by statewide election of NC voters and serves a four-year term.
The NC Council of State consists of the following nine officials:
Responsibilities differ for each office, but all members of the Council of State:
o Department of the Secretary of State o Department of Justice o Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services o Department of Insurance o Department of Labor o Department of Public Instruction o Department of State Treasurer o Office of the State Auditor
Approximate cost for campaign: $500,000 to $1,500,000