Stanislaus County supervisors set policy and make big-picture decisions for county government and its many functions, from county roads to animal services to the Health Services Agency.
Even city residents are affected by county decisions and functions. For instance, the county operates the jail and conducts safety inspections on all restaurants.
Serving on the Board of Supervisors is considered a part-time job, though some supervisors put in the equivalent of full-time hours.
Members have offices at Tenth Street Place in downtown Modesto, but also work out of their homes or businesses.
They represent geographic areas, the boundaries for which are established after each census.
Preparing for and attending Tuesday board meetings, which begin at 9 a.m. most weeks and at 6:30 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month.
Approving the county's annual budget for 28 departments and agencies, including the sheriff's department, district attorney's office, public health department, assessor's office, animal services, county library, Community Services Agency (formerly called the welfare department) and public works, which includes landfills and county roads.
Regulating land use in the unincorporated areas (outside of cities).
Serving on several of the county's 90-some boards and commissions, and appointing citizens to those groups. These include the Mental Health Board, the Economic Development Action Committee, a county animal advisory board, fire and cemetery districts, the Housing Authority and the Commission on Aging.
Responding to constituent calls, about issues ranging from garbage dumped along a roadside to child support payments.
The board hires a chief executive officer to oversee the day-to-day operations of the county and its 3,800 employees. Members also work with other elected officials who oversee county departments, such as the sheriff and the district attorney. Each supervisor has a part-time field representative to assist with constituent calls and related matters.
Supervisors' current annual salary is $71,032, plus $4,800 in car allowance. (The current supervisors all took a voluntary 5 percent pay cut for this year and next.) They also are eligible for the county's health, dental and vision insurance plans, worth up to $10,500 a month.