The department is the principal organization level of the county. Departments are identified either as operating departments, which provide direct services to citizens, or staff departments, which perform functions relating to the support of the operating departments. The County Clerk, District Attorney and Sheriff are directly elected by popular vote as are the County Executive and the twenty-nine Legislators.
Departments may be separated into divisions, divisions into sections, and sections into units, as necessary, to reach a level which facilitates analysis and understanding. (Additional links to other important agencies and divisions have been added alphabetically in the left menu.) The department level, however, is the level at which the County Legislature actually authorizes appropriations. The number of divisions, sections and units presented generally varies according to a department’s size and complexity.