What is a County?


I had trouble explaining what a county was to someone from British Columbia. One of the hardest parts to explain is what they’re for (and what they’re not for), closely followed by why they’re called that, considering we don’t have nobility. And, for that matter, why isn’t the head of the board of supervisors called the countWhat makes it more confusing is that there are a few weird places like Louisiana that have something like counties, but not counties. A parish, in Louisiana, consists of a few cities and I assume has a Sheriff to look after the… um… parishioners.

You have San Francisco, which is both a city and a county, and the governments over-lap to the point where the city council is also the board of supervisors, and the head of the board of supervisors is also the mayor. There is a county Sheriff’s Department in San Francisco, which is odd, because I don’t know of any unincorporated land that the SFPD wouldn’t handle.

With counties generally consisting of several cities, it’s strange enough to have a county that only consists of one city, but what about New York City? It’s a city that takes up FIVE counties. The boroughs of New York city make it even more confusing. The Borough of The Bronx is Bronx County. That makes sense. The Borough of Brooklyn is Kings County!?! The Borough of Queens is Queens County. The Borough of Manhattan is New York County. The Borough of Staten Island is Richmond County. No wonder they’re always in such a rotten mood. I would be too if I had that many bodies of government overlapping.

You have which are where the court house and county jail usually are (but not always of course) and they are usually the largest city (again, not always) and that’s a funny concept too, because who wants to be a seat, holding up the county asses?

Oh well… I still think county supervisors should be called counts.

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