The functions of county chief officers in Kenya are important in running the county executive. Section 45 of the County Governments Act provides for the position of the county chief officers.
Whenever a vacancy arises in the office of a county chief officer, the respective governor should within fourteen days —
- nominate qualified and experienced county chief officers from among persons competitively sourced and recommended by the County Public Service Board; and
- with the approval of the county assembly, appoint county chief officers.
The office of a county chief officer is an office in the county public service.
Functions of County Chief Officers in Kenya
A county chief officer is responsible to the respective county executive committee member for the administration of a county department.
A county department is an office established under each ministry under the county government. For example, under the environment ministry, there might be a department of water and sanitation and a department of environment. Each of these departments should be headed by a respective chief officer.
In performing their functions, the chief officers are answerable to the county executive committee member for that particular county ministry. While county executive committee members are equivalent to cabinet secretaries at the national level, the chief officers are equivalent to permanent secretaries.
The power to deploy a county public officer within a department is the responsibility of the relevant county chief officer.
The county chief officer should be the authorized officer in respect of the exercise of delegated power. “Authorized officer” includes—
- the holder of the office of county chief officer in a county department; or
- in case of a department that is not assigned or under the direct administration of a county chief officer, the head of that department; and
- any other public officer appointed by the County Public Service Board to be an authorized officer with respect to a specified public body including a city or urban area.
The governor may re-assign a county chief officer. That is, the chief officer may be transferred from one department to another.
The office of the county chief officer should become vacant if the officer—
- resigns by notice in writing addressed to the governor; or
- is removed from office in accordance with the terms of service or any other written law applicable to the officer.