Ingham County is governed by a 14-member Board of Commissioners elected on a partisan basis for terms of two years from single-member districts that are approximately equal in population.
The Board annually elects from its ranks a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson Pro Tem by majority vote. The administration of the County, other than as delegated to elected officials, is guided by the County Controller who is appointed by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Commissioners and serves at its pleasure. Primary functions of the Board include determination of the type and level of County services, adoption of the County budget, Equalization/Tax Mapping of County property values, legislative oversight of County services and the appointment of various boards, commissions and County officials. Judges of the 30th Judicial Circuit and the Probate Court are elected at large for six year terms, while the Judges of the 55th District Court are elected from the area of the County outside of Lansing and East Lansing. (Lansing and East Lansing both have their own district courts.) Operation of the court system is under the auspices of the Michigan Supreme Court and the respective presiding Judges, while the County government primarily provides financial support.
Administration of the County is divided by the Michigan Constitution among various statutory County officials, including the County Treasurer, County Clerk, Register of Deeds, Prosecuting Attorney, Drain Commissioner and Sheriff, who are elected at large for four year terms. The County Treasurer is the custodian of funds to local communities and school districts, and performs other duties concerned with interrelated fiscal affairs of County departments and agencies. The duties of the County Clerk include keeping and maintaining records of births, deaths, marriages and discharge of military personnel and serving as Clerk of the Board of Commissioners. The duties of the Register of Deeds include the recording or deeds, mortgages, surveys, plats, notices of liens and bills of sales. The Prosecuting Attorney prosecutes violations of state criminal law within the County and may represent the County in appropriate Courts. The County Drain Commissioner administers the location, construction and maintenance of drains in the County. The Sheriff's duties involve the charge and custody of the County Jail, the serving of processes, and law enforcement in unincorporated areas.
In addition, the Board of Commissioners appoints several County officials, including the Controller/Administrator, Health Officer, Equalization Director and Animal Control Director with responsibilities as defined by statute, County ordinance or resolution. The Controller's responsibilities include direction of central administrative functions of the County government and acting as a liaison on behalf of the Board of Commissioners between County offices, appointed officials and the general public. The Health Officer directs the operation of the County Health Department in accordance with Board of Commissioner's directions and as authorized by State law. The Health Officer also serves as the Medical Examiner serves as the Medical Director of the Health Department as well as performing the statutory duties of Medical Examiner. The Equalization Director oversees the Equalization/Tax Mapping process of the County as prescribed by law. The Animal Control Director enforces appropriate State law and the Ingham County Animal Control Ordinance with respect to insuring the public safety animal related matters.
The Board of Commissioners also appoints various boards and commissions to oversee specific County services and to advise the Board on certain matters of interest. Appointments to boards overseeing specific County functions include the Department of Human Services Board, the Board of County Road Commissioners, Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Housing Commission. Appointments to advisory committees include the Women's Commission, the Equal Opportunity Committee, and the Board of Health. Finally, the Board also appoints representatives to regional bodies overseeing programs in the areas of airport operations, aging, manpower training, planning and substance abuse.