Text Box: This page has information about the general duties and responsibilities of elected officials in our local, county Text Box:

County Offices:

County Commissioner:

Powers are limited by state law, but commissioners may exercise broad authority in these and other areas:

· Build and maintain roads, bridges, and sometimes airports

· Control and care for county property

· Appoint numerous advisory and decision-making boards such as the tax appeal board, planning board, fair board, weed board, airport authority, etc.

· Prepare, review and decide on the annual county budget

· Hire and fire county employees under their supervision*

· Adopt and administer personnel policies and negotiate union contracts

· Provide for law enforcement and correctional facilities in the county

· Plan and provide for parks, playgrounds, and other recreational facilities

· License and tax businesses within the county

· Provide for solid waste collection and disposal

· Develop and enforce building codes

· Provide for the general health and welfare of county residents

· Promote economic and industrial development

· Undertake comprehensive planning, zoning and development controls, and

     review subdivisions

· Provide emergency planning and management


County Attorney

The County Attorney's Office is responsible for the prosecution of criminal offenses committed within their County. It represents the State of Montana in child abuse and child neglect cases, as well as juvenile court proceedings. The County Attorney serves as the attorney for County government, including all agencies and boards. The Civil Division handles involuntary commitments for those who are "seriously mentally ill" and assists the state with involuntary commitment for those who are "seriously developmentally disabled" who are residents of the county.


The sheriff is responsible for a variety of duties related to enforcing state and local laws. Typical responsibilities include:

· Investigation of all crimes committed in the County

· Preserve the peace

· Attend all courts and carry out court orders

· Patrol all roads within the County

· Animal control in rural areas of the County

· Serve all civil processes and warrants of arrest

· Collect delinquent taxes

· Oversee the detention center

Because he is elected, the county sheriff is responsible to the people, and is responsible to protect the constitutional rights of all citizens in his county.

Clerk & Recorder:

The Clerk And Recorder is an elected county official established by the Constitution of Montana. Statutory authority establishes the duties as providing the primary administrative function for recording and maintaining the majority of all the legal documents relating to real estate records, land descriptions, county birth and death records and the records of the Board of County Commissioners


The county treasurer shall:

1) receive all money belonging to the county and all other money directed to be paid to the treasurer by law, safely keep the money, apply and pay the money out, and account for the money as required by law;

2) keep an account of the receipt and expenditures of the money in books provided for the purpose, in which must be entered:

3) keep books so that the amounts received and paid out on account of separate funds or specific appropriations are exhibited in separate and distinct accounts, with the whole receipts and expenditures shown in one general or cash account;

4) disburse the county money only on county warrants issued by the county clerk, based on orders of the board of county commissioners, or as otherwise provided by law.

Superintendent of Schools:

Carry out duties prescribed by the Legislature, Board of Public Education and the State Superintendent of Schools

· As a county government official and county school officer, provide general supervision of public schools in the county

· Assist trustees with school supervision

· Advise and direct teachers on instruction, pupil discipline and other duties of the teacher

· Visit schools at the request of the trustees

· Consult with the trustees on all school matters that may be found during the observation of the school or may otherwise come to their attention

· Provide for supervision to any school with an enrollment of fewer than 150 students and not under the supervision of a district superintendent or principal

· Administer oaths of office to trustees

· Provide other services to districts that fall within the scope of state statutes

· Promote educational growth and improvement


Clerk of Court:

The County Clerk of Court provides the primary administrative function for the appropriate District Court including managment of all District Court records. The office serves the public in areas including, but not limited to, case management, marriage licenses, passports, child support records, and handles several case types including Civil, Probate, and Guardian/Conservator.

Justice of the Peace :

The office of Justice of the Peace is set up by the Constitutional and Statutory Authority for the purpose of administering justice to the citizens of each respective County and the State of Montana. The Courts must enforce its judgments, orders and process; control the conduct of its employees; administer oaths, perform weddings, and comply with Constitutional Law and Statutory Law.

District Judge:

The District Courts are courts of general jurisdiction. General jurisdiction courts process all felony cases, all probate cases, most civil cases at law and in equity, certain special actions and proceedings, all civil actions that may result in a finding against the state for the payment of money, naturalization proceedings, various writs, and some narrowly-defined ballot issues. The District Courts also have limited appellate jurisdiction over cases arising in the Courts of Limited Jurisdiction in their respective districts as may be prescribed by law and consistent with the Constitution.


Montana Sovereign    


Statewide Offices



Term Ends: 2012

Term and Term Limits:  Four years limited to two terms in any 16 year span.

The governor has the duty to see that the Montana Constitution and the laws of the state are faithfully executed. The governor has the power to appoint and supervise the directors of each executive department. Additionally, the governor, as mandated by the state constitution, will give information to the state legislature and recommend measures considered necessary and suitable . This includes submitting a budget recommendation detailing expenditures and revenue. The governor has the responsibility to carry out the duties of commander-in-chief of the militia forces of the state.

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

· Delegating powers to the Lieutenant Governor, excepting those that are Constitutionally vested in the Governor

· Filling vacancies in all other Executive offices

· Making all appointments not otherwise provided for by law, filling vacancies with the consent of the Senate, and making recess appointments

· Vetoing bills, "except bills proposing amendments to the Montana constitution, bills ratifying proposed amendments to the United States constitution, resolutions, and initiative and referendum measures," subject to a legislative override. The Governor may also recommend amendments to bills

· Convening special sessions of the legislature

· Granting pardons and reprieves, remitting fines and forfeitures, and restoring citizenship

· Requiring reports from any executive office and appointing committees to investigate the same


Some positions appointed by the governor include:  Agriculture Director, Natural Resources Director and Labor Commissioner, Montana Supreme and Circuit Court appointments.  These appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

Lieutenant Governor

Term Ends: 2012

Term and Term Limits:  Four years limited to two terms in any 16 year span.

Montana's Lieutenant Governor acts as governor in the event of the death, resignation, removal, impeachment, absence from the state, or incapacity due to illness of the governor of Montana. The lieutenant governor performs the duties provided by law and those delegated to him/her by the governor. However, the lieutenant governor cannot be delegated any duties specifically granted to the governor, as per the state constitution.

The lieutenant governor welcomes international visitors when the governor is unable to do so, serves on a number of state committees, and assists on a number of administration policy initiatives. Additionally, the lieutenant governor provides advice and counsel to the governor.

The office has such other responsibilities and duties as the Governor shall assign.

Secretary of State

Term Ends: 2012

Term and Term Limits: 4 years limited to two terms in any 16 year span.

The duties and functions of the secretary of state include: Interpreting state election laws and overseeing elections; Maintaining the official records of the executive branch and the acts of the legislature; Reviewing, maintaining, and distributing public-interest records of businesses and nonprofit organizations; Filing administrative rules adopted by state departments, boards, and agencies; Attesting to the governor's signature on executive orders, proclamations, resolutions, extradition papers, and appointments; Preserving the state seal; Filing and maintaining records of secured financial transactions, such as liens; Serving on the state Board of Land Commissioners and the Board of Examiners; Serving on the Capital Finance Advisory Council; and Commissioning notaries public.

The secretary of state is the keeper of the Montana state seal, and also serves on the Montana Board of Land Commissioners, which administers school trust lands.

The secretary of state's Office is composed of five divisions:

· The Administrative Rules Services Division is the administrative law arm of the Secretary's office, filing rule notices, rule adoptions, and interpretations, and publishing the state register twice a month. The state's code of regulations, the Administrative Rules of Montana, is updated quarterly.

· The Business Services Division registers business entities, trademarks, assumed business names, and liens made under the Uniform Commercial Code and Federal Food Security Act.

· The Certification and Notaries Division licenses and trains notaries public and certifies documents.

· The Elections and Government Services division administers elections and voter registration. Campaign finance and lobbying is regulated by a separate agency, the Commissioner of Political Practices.

· The Records Management Bureau maintains the records of state and local governments.


Attorney General

Term Ends: 2012

Term and Term Limits: 4 years limited to two terms in any 16 year span.

The Attorney General of Montana is the state's chief legal officer, chief law enforcement officer and director of the Department of Justice. The attorney general also serves as a member of the Montana Land Board and the Board of Examiners. The attorney general has the authority to provide legal opinions to the state legislature; to state officers, boards or commissions; to city attorneys and to county commissioners and county attorneys. The attorney general also has supervisory authority over the state's 56 county attorneys and, at the request of local, state or federal law enforcement agencies, can investigate criminal violations of law.

State Auditor

Term Ends: 2012

Term and Term Limits: 4 years limited to two terms in any 16 year span.

The Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Montana State Auditor is a state executive position in the Montana state government. The auditor's primary responsibility is to regulate the state's insurance industry.

The Office of the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Montana State Auditor, is a criminal justice agency whose primary mission is to protect Montana's consumers through insurance and securities regulation. They work to educate and assist the public about the wide range of issues in insurance and securities, and strive to ensure fairness, transparency and access in the securities and insurance industries.

Superintendent of

Public Instruction

Term Ends: 2012

Term and Term Limits: 4 years limited to two terms in any 16 year span.

The superintendent of public instruction is the governing agent and executive officer of the state of Montana for K-12 career and vocational/technical education. The superintendent of public instruction shall adopt and administer policies to effect the orderly development of a system of K-12 career and vocational/technical education that is adaptable to changing needs, controlled to prevent unnecessary duplication, coordinated with federal guidelines and requirements for K-12 career and vocational/technical education, and funded to ensure growth and quality programming.


Public Service Commission

Term and Term Limits: 4 years limited to two terms in any 16 year span.

The Montana Public Service Commission is a five-member board responsible for regulation of energy, telecom, water/sewer, transportation and pipeline utilities in the state.

The current chairman is Travis Kavulla (District 1) and vice-chair is Gail Gutsche (District 4). Commissioners include Brad Molnar (District 2), Bill Gallagher (District 5) and John Vincent (District 3).

The Public Service Commission has four main divisions, Energy, Telecommunications, Water/Sewer, Transportation and Pipeline Safety


State Representatives:

Montana State Senate


Term and Term Limits:  4 Years, limited to 8 or more years in any 16-year period as a state senator


The Montana Senate is the upper house of the Montana State Legislature. It consists of 50 senators.

Montana state senators serve for four-year terms subject to a term limit of no more than two terms in office. Twenty-five of the state senate seats are up for election each even-numbered year.

The primary duty of a state senator is to make laws that address issues in education, health care, housing, social services, labor and industrial relations, taxes, business, transportation, agriculture, the environment and other areas. As the representative of their district, a senator creates laws that serve the interests of all their constituents, regardless of her constituents' political party affiliations.

 To create laws, a senator performs various tasks. They research the issues, which involves meeting with constituents and subject-matter experts. They propose bills, review drafted bills and introduce bills to the Senate body. They also work with colleagues in the Senate and House, to pass or defeat legislation.

 Senators also approve judge and other official appointments made by the governor. A senator is required to attend legislative meetings and serve on standing committees.  There are 17 standing Senate committees which consider legislation on specific areas.

Montana State Representative

Term: Two years

Term Limits:  8 or more years in any 16-year period as a state representative

A candidate for the legislature shall be a resident of the state for at least one year next preceding the general election. For six months next preceding the general election, he shall be a resident of the county if it contains one or more districts or of the district if it contains all or parts of more than one county.

Montana representatives meet every two years in legislative session to pass the laws and budget of the state, subject to approval by the members of the House and the governor.

State representatives introduce and vote on bills that represent the interests of their constituents (people who live in their voting district). These representatives uphold the state's Constitution, and vote on changes to the Constitution when amendments are needed. They may address issues such as education, transportation, commerce, state taxes and any other items that are a concern to local residents.

 Representatives are selected to sit on committees which break up the business of the state into categories.   Representatives also are selected to sit on interim committees, which review issues between sessions and work on legislation to propose in the next session.

The general responsibilities of Montana's legislators are summarized below.

support, protect, and defend the U.S. and Montana Constitutions;

· serve the constituents living in the district;

· serve the citizens of the state as a whole;

· act as a liaison between constituents and state government;

· study, discuss, request, and vote on proposed legislation;

· create, amend, and repeal state laws and programs;

· allocate state resources to agencies and programs;

· ensure that laws are carried out according to the intent of the Legislature;

· oversee the work of state agencies; and

· act as a balance to the Executive and Judicial Branches of government.


In carrying out all these duties, legislators must consider competing values, interests, and constituencies.

They also keep their constituents informed and help them access state programs and services.

Between Sessions legislative committees meet regularly during the interims between sessions.

During each session, legislators identify topics they want to study in more depth. They appoint interim committees to conduct these studies. The committees often invite experts to present information to them. Members of the public also get a chance to have their say. Sometimes legislators travel to other communities to learn about issues firsthand.

During the interims, legislators have more time to debate and discuss issues. They’re under less pressure than they are during sessions. They use what they learn from their interim studies to make well-informed decisions about what bills to consider during the next session.

Text Box:

City, Town and Municipal Offices


A mayor is an elected person who serves as the head of a city’s government. He or she has many responsibilities and follows a goal of making that city a great place for its residents to live.

Mayors decide how to spend money on local programs, construction projects, parks, city streets, and other things. At city council meetings, where local officers discuss current and upcoming plans for their areas, the mayor listens to everything and has the power to vote on which plans should be put into practice.

A mayor is also responsible for making sure that city services, such as the fire department and police department, work well and are helping everyone who needs assistance.

City Council:

Representing their council district at council meetings is a big responsibility; council members need to understand each issue, each proposal and how it will affect their district. They spend a lot of time preparing for formal council meetings.

Council members also attend subcommittee meetings. Subcommittee means smaller group. The subcommittee members meet to talk about a particular issue they think is important.

Council members spend a lot of their time meeting with citizens. Citizens call their council representative because they have a question, a problem or an issue they want to discuss. The council member and his or her staff listen to the citizen and try to find a solution.

Besides meeting with citizens to discuss neighborhood issues, council members also meet with business owners. Business is good for the city, so council members often meet with business owners. Council members talk about all of the services the city offers and find solutions to any problems the business might have.

Council members know that citizens also have solutions. Council members spend a lot of their time visiting schools, neighborhood associations and local events.

City Clerk:

It is the duty of the clerk to:

· attend all meetings of the council and record and sign the proceedings thereof and all ordinances, bylaws, resolutions, and contracts passed, adopted, or entered into;

· enter into the Ordinance Book all ordinances, resolutions, and bylaws passed and adopted by the council;

· countersign and cause to be published or posted, as provided by law, all ordinances, bylaws, or resolutions passed and adopted by the council;

· sign, number, and keep a record of all licenses, commissions, or permits granted or authorized by the council. 

· file and keep all records, books, papers, or property belonging to the city or town and deliver the documents or property to the clerk's successor when qualified;

· take and administer oaths, but must not charge or receive any fees therefor.

· make and certify copies of all records, books, and papers in the clerk's possession on the payment of fees that are allowed county clerks, which must be paid into the city treasury;

· make and keep a complete index of the journal, ordinance book, finance book, and all other books and papers on file in the clerk's office.