County of San Diego Charter

The County of San Diego has a charter that was first adopted by voters in 1933. The preamble to the Charter states: "We, the People of the County of San Diego, adopt this Charter to protect our rights and to promote a just, honorable, and efficient government."

The California Constitution recognizes two types of counties: general law counties and charter counties.

General law counties adhere to state law as to the number and duties of county elected officials. Charter counties, on the other hand, have a limited degree of “home rule” authority that may provide for the election, compensation, terms, removal, and salary of the governing board; for the election or appointment (except the Sheriff, District Attorney, and Assessor who must be elected), compensation, terms, and removal of all county officers; for the powers and duties of all officers; and for consolidation and segregation of county offices. A charter does not give county officials extra authority over local regulations, revenue-raising abilities, budgetary decisions, or intergovernmental relations.

A county may adopt, amend, or repeal a charter with approval by a majority of voters. A new charter or the amendment or repeal of an existing charter may be proposed by the Board of Supervisors, a charter commission, or an initiative petition. The provisions of a charter are the law of the state and have the force and effect of legislative enactments. 

The County of San Diego's Charter was most recently amended on November 6, 2018.