Board of Health and Local Health Officer: Roles and Responsibilities

This chart was compiled to compare the differing roles and responsibilities of the local Board on Health compared to the health officer or director of the local health department.


Board of Health   

Director/Health Officer

Who Is Responsible?

Long-term goals
(taking more than one year)

Approves Recommends and provides input
Short-term goals
(taking one year or less)
Monitors Establishes and carries out
Annual report and plan Approves Assesses, develops, and carries out
News media releases Adopts policy; supports public health position Approves all media releases
Day-to-day operations No role Makes all management decisions
Budget Approves Develops and recommends
Capital purchases Approves Prepares requests
Decisions on building renovation, leasing, expansion, etc. Make decisions, assumes responsibility Recommends, signs contracts after board approval
Purchases of supplies Establishes policy and budget for supplies Purchases according to board policy; maintains an adequate audit trail
Major repairs Approves Obtains estimates and prepares recommendations
Minor repairs Establishes policy, including amount that can be spent without board approval Authorizes repairs up to predetermined amount
Emergency repairs Works with administrator Notifies board chairperson and acts with concurrence from chair
Cleaning and maintenance No role (oversight only) Sets up schedule
Fees Adopts policy Develops and sets fee schedules
Billing, credit and collections Adopts policy Proposes policy and implements
Hiring of staff Hires administrator only Approves hiring of all subordinate staff
Staff development and assignment No role Establishes
Firing of staff Fires administrator only Approves firing of all subordinate staff
Staff grievances Establishes a grievance committee Follows grievance procedures
Personnel policies Adopts Recommends and administers
Staff salaries Allocates budget line item for salaries; approves yearly percentage increase Approves salaries with recommendations from supervisory staff
Staff evaluations Evaluates administrator only Evaluates supervisory staff

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Last Revised: October 13, 2015