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On June 25, 1986 Cattaraugus County appointed it's first County Administrator. Prior to this appointment there was much discussion over the need for a full-time professional who would be responsible for overseeing the business that is county government. The consensus in Cattaraugus County was to go the route of a County Administrator. In making this appointment, Cattaraugus County joined the ranks of a variety of counties and cities in both New York State and the nation that had chosen to appoint an individual, charged with various executive and administrative duties, to direct day-to-day County operations.

An appointed County Administrator serves an elected governing body, in the case of Cattaraugus County---the Cattaraugus County Legislature, which has both legislative and administrative responsibilities. This elected governing body has consciously made the decision that they will delegate some of their responsibilities to the County Administrator. The nature of duties assigned to a County Administrator varies somewhat from county to county; just as the decision to organize government operations can follow a variety of courses. There are some important commonalties, however, across the types of activities generally assigned/delegated to County Administrators.

A County Administrator advises the elected governing body which, in turn, is charged with setting policy and, ultimately, being accountable to the public. A County Administrator has an administrative responsibility to the governing body for implementing duties as specified and delegated by Local Law. Professionally, a County Administrator is bound by a responsibility to their governing board, colleagues, staff, and the general public. All activities must be done with integrity, accuracy, thoroughness, confidence, competence and dedication to the moral and ethical principles that are the basis of the representative democracy that is County government.

Due to the increasing complexity in the management of County government, the County Legislature established the Office of County Administrator in 1986.

The County Administrator is appointed on the basis of such qualifications as may be required for the responsibilities of the office, including, either administrative experience in business or government, and shall have demonstrated leadership qualities.