A county executive is the head of the executive branch of government in a county.
The executive may be an elected or an appointed position. When elected, he/she typically functions either as a voting member of the elected county government, or may have veto power similar to other elected executives such as a governor or mayor. When appointed, he/she is usually hired for a specific period of time, but frequently can be dismissed prior to this. The position of an appointed county executive is analogous to that of a city manager, and is similar to a chief administrative officer, depending on the state. The executive is generally given full responsibility for the total operation of all departments based on general directives provided by the elected county government that hired the executive.
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