Government

The three-member Summers County Commission is the governing body of the county. The West Virginia State Code provides certain powers to the county commission, but these powers are limited to "the manner prescribed by law." This means that the county commissions’ powers must be expressly conferred by the Constitution or by acts of the Legislature. With respect to the powers of a county commission, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has stated that "a county court (now county commission) possesses only such powers as are expressly conferred upon it by constitutional or statutory provisions, together with such powers as are reasonably and necessarily implied in the full and proper exercise of powers expressly conferred upon it."

The West Virginia Constitution, Section 11, Article 9, specifically grants the following powers and duties to county commissions:

The custody, through their clerks, of all deeds and other papers presented for record in their counties, with responsibility for their preservation or disposal as may be prescribed by law.

The administration of the internal police and fiscal affairs of their counties, with authority to lay county levies, under regulations as may be prescribed by law.

Serve as the judge of the election, qualification and return of their own members, and of all county and district officers, subject to regulations as may be prescribed by law.

Other duties and responsibilities are specified in chapter 7 of the West Virginia Code, particularly in §7-1-3. These include:

Preparation and adoption of budget for all county offices, except judicial

Jurisdiction in all matters of probate

Appoint guardians for minor children; receive court settlements generally

Own and maintain county property

Sit as Board of Canvassers

Lay and disburse county levies base (I on assessed property values

Sit as Board of Review and Equalization in February hear appeals on property values for assessment purposes

Appoint Fiduciary Commissioners to oversee and certain estates as required

Appoint members of certain county boards, authorities and public service districts

Adopt ordinances and orders in areas of jurisdiction as prescribed by law

Approve purchase orders and payment vouchers for elected county offices, except judicial

County commissions are required by section 9, article 9 of the Constitution to hold four regular sessions (meetings) each. These meetings must be held at the courthouse. Special sessions may be held throughout the year if called by the president of the Commission with the concurrence of at least one other commissioner. The number of meetings held varies from county to county, with some commissions meeting once month and others several times a month.

Notice of all meetings must be given and meetings are public, as required by the open meetings law, West Virginia Code §6-9A-3. Executive, or private, sessions may be held as authorized by law. Two commissioners in attendance at a meeting establish a quorum. At the first session of each year, the commissioners choose one of their members to serve as president.