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Article II

Organization of County Government

SECTION 2.1 Elected Commission and Appointed County Manager Form of Government

Osceola County shall operate under an elected County Commission and appointed County Manager form of government with separation of legislative and executive functions in accordance with the provisions of this Home Rule Charter. The legislative responsibilities and powers of the County shall be assigned to and vested in the Board of County Commissioners. The executive responsibilities and powers of the County shall be assigned to and vested in the County Manager, who shall carry out the directives and policies of the Board of County Commissioners and enforce all orders, resolutions, ordinances, and regulations of the Board, the County Charter, and all applicable general laws, to assure that they are faithfully executed.

SECTION 2.2 Legislative Branch

A. The County Commission. The governing body of the County shall be a Board of County Commissioners composed of five (5) members serving staggered terms of four (4) years. There shall be one Commissioner for each of the five (5) County Commission districts established pursuant to general law and they shall be elected on a Countywide basis (*Footnote 1) by the electors of the County. During the term of office each Commissioner shall reside in the district for which such Commissioner ran for office, provided that any Commissioner who is removed from a district by redistricting may continue to serve during the balance of the term of office.

(*Footnote 1: As of December 12, 2006, in the final judgment, entered by the United States District Court, Judge Gregory A. Presnell, ordered implementation of single-member voting districts for County Commission elections.

The Primary Election was scheduled on March 20, 2007, and the General Election on April 24, 2007. Single-member district elections were held on those dates for District 2, the Hispanic majority district, in which there was no incumbent, and District 4, where there was an incumbent Commissioner. County Commissioners for Districts 1, 3, and 5, were to complete their current terms and run in singlemember districts in 2008 elections.

Although a referendum was not held to amend the Charter, the Charter is hereby amended based upon the Order of the Court.)

B. Redistricting. County Commission district boundaries shall be changed only after notice and a public hearing as provided by general law.

C. Salaries and Other Compensation. Salaries and other compensation of the County Commissioners shall be the same as those set by general law for the County Commissioners of non-charter Counties.

D. Authority. The Board of County Commissioners shall exercise all legislative authority provided by this Home Rule Charter in addition to all other powers and duties authorized by general law or special law approved by a vote of the electorate.

E. Administrative Code. The County Commission shall adopt an Administrative Code in accordance with general law.

  1. The Administrative Code shall organize the administration of County government and set forth the duties and responsibilities and powers of all County officials and agencies.
  2. The Administrative Code shall not apply to the elected Constitutional Officers.

F. Vacancies. A vacancy in the office of County Commissioner shall be defined and filled as provided by general law.

G. Recall. The members of the Board of County Commissioners shall be subject to recall as provided by general law.

H. Initiative.
(1) The electors of Osceola County shall have the right to initiate County ordinances in order to establish new ordinances and to amend or repeal existing ordinances upon petition by a number of electors qualified to vote at least equal in number to 7% of the total number of qualified electors registered to vote in the County at the last preceding general election.
(2) The sponsor of an initiative ordinance shall, prior to obtaining any signatures, submit the text of the proposed ordinance to the Supervisor of Elections, with the form on which signatures will be affixed, and shall obtain the approval of the Supervisor of Elections of such form. The style and requirements of such form shall be specified by ordinance. The beginning date of any petition drive shall commence upon the date of approval by the Supervisor of Elections of the form on which signatures will be affixed, and said drive shall terminate 180 days after that date. In the event sufficient signatures are not acquired during that 180 day period, the petition initiative shall be rendered null and void and none of the signatures may be carried over onto another identical or similar petition. The sponsor shall submit signed and dated forms to the Supervisor of Elections and upon submission shall pay all fees as required by general law which fees shall be repaid by the County if the initiative ordinance is adopted. The Supervisor of Elections shall within 45 days verify the signatures thereon.
(3) Within 60 days after the requisite number of names have been verified by the Supervisor of Elections and reported to the County Commission, the County Commission shall notice and hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance according to law and vote on it. If the County Commission fails to adopt the proposed ordinance it shall, by resolution, call a referendum on the question of adoption of the proposed ordinance to be held at the next general election occurring at least 45 days after the adoption of such resolution. If the question of the adoption of the proposed ordinance is approved by a majority of those registered electors voting on the question, the proposed ordinance shall be declared by resolution of the County Commission to be enacted and shall become effective on the date specified in the ordinance, or, if not so specified on January 1 of the succeeding year. The County Commission shall not amend or repeal an ordinance adopted by initiative for a period of one year after the effective date of such ordinance.
(4) The right to initiate County ordinances shall not include ordinances establishing, amending, repealing or otherwise pertaining to the County budget, existing debt obligations, the Comprehensive Plan of the County, the zoning or re-zoning of land and other development regulations, or affecting title or other interests in real property.

SECTION 2.3 Executive Branch

A. The County Manager.
(1) The County Manager shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Board of County Commissioners. The County Manager shall be the chief executive officer of the County and all executive responsibilities and power shall be assigned to and vested in the County Manager. The County Manager shall exercise all executive authority provided by this Home Rule Charter in addition to all other powers and duties authorized by general or special law.
(2) The County Manager shall be qualified by administrative and executive experience and ability to serve as the chief administrator of the County. The County Manager must have a master’s degree in public or business administration, or a juris doctorate, at least three (3) years experience as a manager or assistant manager of a county or city; or bachelor’s degree in the same educational fields and at least five (5) years like experience; or at least eight (8) years experience in the administration of government, business or industry and be able to demonstrate knowledge of County governmental operations. The County Manager shall be appointed by an affirmative vote of a majority of the membership of the Board of County Commissioners. The County Manager shall serve at the pleasure of the Board of County Commissioners. The County Manager need not be a resident of the County at the time of appointment, but during the tenure in office the County Manager shall within one (1) calendar year of appointment establish and maintain domicile within the County.
(3) The compensation of the County Manager shall be established by the Board of County Commissioners.
(4) The office of the County Manager shall be deemed vacant if the incumbent moves his residence from the County or is by death, illness, or other casualty, unable to continue in office. A vacancy in the office shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment. The Board of County Commissioners may appoint an acting County Manager in the case of vacancy or temporary absence or disability until a successor has been appointed and qualified or the County Manager returns.

B. County Department Heads.
(1) The County department heads shall be appointed by and shall be responsible to the County Manager. All department head appointments must be with the advice and consent of the Board of County Commissioners.
(2) The County Manager shall have the sole authority to suspend or discharge any department head with or without cause.

C. County Attorney. There shall be a County Attorney appointed by majority vote of the Board of County Commissioners and who shall serve at the pleasure of the Board. The County Attorney shall supervise the Office of the County Attorney. The County Attorney may appoint assistant County Attorneys and support staff subject to budget approval and special counsel as may be required upon approval of the Board of County Commissioners. The County Attorney shall report directly to the Board of County Commissioners. The Office of the County Attorney shall provide legal services to the Board of County Commissioners, and such other County departments, boards and agencies as specified by the Board of County Commissioners. The County Attorney shall be admitted to practice law in the State of Florida. The compensation of the County Attorney shall be established by the Board of County Commissioners.

D. Office of Commission Auditor. The County Commission shall appoint an auditor who shall be a Certified Public Accountant or Public Accountant as defined under the Laws of Florida governing the practice of Public Accountancy in Florida, or such other person qualified by education or experience in governmental accounting, internal auditing practices and fiscal controls. The Commission Auditor shall serve at the pleasure of the County Commission.

The auditor shall be responsible for the maintenance of internal financial controls and for the performance of such other duties assigned by the County Commission. To the degree necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of the office, the auditor shall have the power and authority to:

  1. Conduct financial and compliance, economy and efficiency, and performance audits of Charter government and officials with written reports submitted to both the County Commission and the County Manager.
  2. Have free and unrestricted access to Charter government employees, officials, records, and reports; and where appropriate, require all branches, departments, and officials of Charter government to provide oral and written reports and to produce documents, files, and other records.