1

As the head of a city is called mayor, what is the proper single word to title the head of a county? Answers from any country are welcome. Thank you!

5
  • 1
    Welcome to EL&U. Please note that questions on this site should include the initial research you have attempted— say, a web search. A county is a wildly different unit in different countries, and even within a single country, they have different forms. Counties in many U.S. states have no "head" official at all. There is no single term for the head of a county.
    – choster
    Oct 12, 2016 at 2:50
  • Thanks choster! I did google it but only got "county executive" as Richard has suggested below. I was looking for a concise single term as "mayor" is. It's still good to know there isn't one. I will include more background next time I ask a question. Oct 12, 2016 at 3:01
  • The word "county" refers to a piece of land ruled over by a count, which was a medieval noble title. Just because many lands have lost such rulership, doesn't change how they were formed. Oct 12, 2016 at 3:02
  • 1
    Many U.S. counties have no executive. Most have a board, who may elect a chair or a president. They may hire a professional county manager or administrator. In some states, the county commissioner or commissioners have power. In Kentucky, the position is known as Judge/Executive, and in New Jersey, which also has county executives, managers, and administrators, there are freeholder directors. Some counties have mayors, or their chief executive is the mayor of the city with which they are consolidated. But these are all different offices with different roles and powers.
    – choster
    Oct 12, 2016 at 3:07
  • 1
    Moreover, a county is a very different type of region in different countries. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County .
    – choster
    Oct 12, 2016 at 3:10

3 Answers 3

3

A common term in the U.S. is county executive or simply executive. That's the term used in Montgomery County, Maryland, U.S.A., where I live.

From Wikipedia:

Isiah "Ike" Leggett (born July 25, 1944) is an American politician from the U.S. state of Maryland, currently serving as the executive of Montgomery County, Maryland.

Also from Wikipedia:

A county executive is the head of the executive branch of government in a United States county.

9
  • Thanks Richard! Can I also say vice county executive? Oct 12, 2016 at 2:46
  • @EaminZhang That role doesn't exist in my county. Nor is there a "deputy executive". You can review the staffing of the Office of the County Executive here. Oct 12, 2016 at 2:52
  • Common, but far from universal; I would wager that more states have county administrators or county managers, and note that many counties in many states do not have an executive.
    – choster
    Oct 12, 2016 at 3:02
  • I got it. Thanks for answering with so much helpful details. Oct 12, 2016 at 3:02
  • @EaminZhang My pleasure. I would argue that executive is one word. :-) Oct 12, 2016 at 3:04
2

Also, chair and vice-chair of the county legislature. That's what the positions are called in my county.

You could say "county supervisor", I think, and people would understand what you're saying. But you need to recognize that the county is usually not the most influential governing body, so it doesn't have a very majestic leader title.

6
  • Thanks for answering! Chair is a very generic term though. Oct 12, 2016 at 3:25
  • @EaminZhang - What can I say? That's what the positions are called in my county. You could say "county supervisor", I think, and people would understand what you're saying. But you need to recognize that the county is usually not the most influential governing body, so it doesn't have a very majestic leader title. Oct 12, 2016 at 5:02
  • @EaminZhang - If it doesn't have to be the county, then you could safely use mayor. Oct 12, 2016 at 5:10
  • We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.
    – NVZ
    Oct 12, 2016 at 5:31
  • @aparente001 Why not find the definitions of the words and see if you can find recorded instances id their usage? Oct 12, 2016 at 5:58
2

Here where I live we have mayors of our counties. I don't think we have vice mayors - for example, I live in a county called Clark, and we have the mayor of Clark County, the governor of my state. We also have a mayor of our city as well. Yep, this can be confusing. Looking at Wikipedia yields more confusing results. I've never heard of county executive.

4
  • Good to learn how one title can be used for various positions in different governments. I used to believe "governor" is only for a state or colony. Oct 12, 2016 at 3:21
  • 1
    Welcome to English Language & Usage! Please explain your answer, preferably with some supporting statements and references. While opinions are valued, they are not of much help as answers.
    – NVZ
    Oct 12, 2016 at 5:34
  • @EaminZhang Welcome to the Internet. Oct 14, 2016 at 22:38
  • I checked out a few Clark counties. Nevada: Commissioners, Missouri: Commissions, Washington: Councilors, Wisconsin: Commissioners, Ohio: Commissioners, Kansas: Commissioners, Kentucky: Judge/Executive (note @choster above), Illinois: Board members, South Dakota: Commissioners, Indiana: Commissioners, ... Note that Cuyahoga County, Ohio has has an executive, from which one can infer that even within a given state, counties may be run differently. Note also that counties may have vastly different populations, which could affect the structure of the county government. Oct 16, 2016 at 1:11

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.