County Organization


9-1. County organization.
The voters of each county shall elect a surveyor of lands, a prosecuting attorney, a sheriff, and one and not more than two assessors, who shall hold their respective offices for the term of four years.

9-2. Constables, coroners and overseers of the poor.
There shall also be elected in each district of the county, by the voters thereof, one constable, and if the population of any district shall exceed twelve hundred, an additional constable, whose term of office shall be four years, and whose powers as such shall extend throughout their county. The assessor shall, with the advice and consent of the county court, have the power to appoint one or more assistants. Coroners, overseers of the poor and surveyors of roads, shall be appointed by the county court. The foregoing officers, except the prosecuting attorneys, shall reside in the county and district for which they shall be respectively elected.

9-3. Sheriffs.
A person who has been elected or who has served as sheriff during all or any part of two consecutive terms shall be ineligible for the office of sheriff during any part of the term immediately following the second of the two consecutive terms. The person holding the office of sheriff when this section is ratified shall not be prevented from holding the office of sheriff during the term immediately following the term he is then serving.

9-4. Malfeasance and misfeasance in office.
The presidents of the county courts, the justices of the peace, sheriffs, prosecuting attorneys, clerks of the circuit and of the county courts, and all other county officers shall be subject to indictment for malfeasance, misfeasance, or neglect of official duty and upon conviction thereof, their office shall become vacant.

9-5. Commissioning of officers not otherwise provided for.
The Legislature shall provide for commissioning such of the officers herein mentioned, as it may deem proper, not provided for in this constitution, and may require any class of them to give bond with security for the faithful discharge of the duties of their respective offices.

9-6. Compensation -- Deputies.
It shall further provide for the compensation, the duties and responsibilities of such officers, and may provide for the appointment of their deputies and assistants by general laws.

9-7. Conservators of the peace.
The president of the county court and every justice and constable shall be a conservator of the peace throughout his county.

9-8. Formation of new counties.
No new county shall hereafter be formed in this state with an area of less than four hundred square miles; nor with a population of less than six thousand; nor shall any county, from which a new county, or part thereof shall be taken, be reduced in area below four hundred square miles, nor in population below six thousand. Nor shall a new county be formed without the consent of a majority of the voters residing within the boundaries of the proposed new county, and voting on the question.

9-9. County commissions.
The office of county court or tribunal in lieu thereof heretofore created is hereby continued in all respects as heretofore constituted, but from and after the effective date of this amendment shall be designated as the county commission and wherever in this constitution, the code of West Virginia, acts of the Legislature or elsewhere in law a reference is made to the county court of any county, such reference shall be read, construed and understood to mean the county commission. Except as otherwise provided in section eleven or thirteen of this article, there shall be in each county of the state a county commission, composed of three commissioners, and two of said commissioners shall be a quorum for the transaction of business. It shall hold four regular sessions in each year, and at such times as may be fixed and entered of record by the said commission. Provisions may be made by law for holding special sessions of said commissions.

9-10. Terms of office of county commissioners.
The commissioners shall be elected by the voters of the county, and hold their office for a term of six years, except that at the first meeting of said commissioners they shall designate by lot, or otherwise in such manner as they may determine, one of their number, who shall hold his office for a term of two years, one for four years, and one for six years, so that one shall be elected every two years; but no two of said commissioners shall be elected from the same magisterial district. If two or more persons residing in the same district shall receive the greater number of votes cast at any election, then only the one of such persons receiving the highest number shall be declared elected, and the person living in another district, who shall receive the next highest number of votes, shall be declared elected. Said commissioners shall annually elect one of their number as president. The commissioners of said commissions, now in office, shall remain therein for the term for which they have been elected, unless sooner removed therefrom, in the manner prescribed by law.

9-11. Powers of county commissions.
The county commissions, through their clerks, shall have the custody of all deeds and other papers presented for record in their counties, and the same shall be preserved therein, or otherwise disposed of, as now is, or may be prescribed by law. They shall also, under such regulations as may be prescribed by law, have the superintendence and administration of the internal police and fiscal affairs of their counties, including the establishment and regulation of roads, ways, bridges, public landings, ferries and mills, with authority to lay and disburse the county levies: Provided, That no license for the sale of intoxicating liquors in any incorporated city, town or village, shall be granted without the consent of the municipal authorities thereof, first had and obtained. Until otherwise prescribed by law, they shall, in all cases of contest, be the judge of the election, qualification and returns of their own members, and of all county and district officers, subject to such regulations, by appeal or otherwise, as may be prescribed by law. Such commissions may exercise such other powers, and perform such other duties, not of a judicial nature, as may be prescribed by law. Such existing tribunals as have been heretofore established by the Legislature to act as to police and fiscal matters in lieu of county commissions in certain counties shall remain and continue as now constituted in the counties in which they have been respectively established until otherwise provided by law, and they shall have and exercise the powers which the county commissions have under this article, and, until otherwise provided by law, such clerk as is mentioned in section twelve of this article shall exercise any powers and discharge any duties, heretofore conferred on, or required of, any such tribunal or the clerk of such tribunal respecting the recording and preservation of deeds and other papers presented for record and such other matters as are prescribed by law to be exercised and discharged by the clerk thereof.

9-12. Clerk of county commission.
The voters of each county shall elect a clerk of the county commission, whose term of office shall be six years. His duties and compensation and the manner of his removal shall be prescribed by law. But the clerks of said commissions, now in office, shall remain therein for the term for which they have been elected, unless sooner removed therefrom, in the manner prescribed by law.

9-13. Reformation of county commissions.
The Legislature shall, upon the application of any county, reform, alter or modify the county commission established by this article in such county, and in lieu thereof, with the assent of a majority of the voters of such county voting at an election, create another tribunal for the transaction of the business required to be performed by the county commission created by this article. Whenever a county commission shall receive a petition signed by ten percent of the registered voters of such county requesting the reformation, alteration or modification of such county commission, it shall be the mandatory duty of such county commission to request the Legislature, at its next regular session thereafter, to enact an act reforming, altering or modifying such county commission and establishing in lieu thereof another tribunal for the transaction of the business required to be performed by such county commission, such act to take effect upon the assent of the voters of such county, as aforesaid. Whenever any such tribunal is established, all of the provisions of this article in relation to the county commission shall be applicable to the tribunal established in lieu of said commission. When such tribunal has been established, it shall continue to act in lieu of the county commission until otherwise provided by law.