The Secretary General is in charge of the official provincial organisation. She is the link between the Provincial Executive and all the employees at the Province. She is present at every Provincial Council assembly and signs all decrees taken in this assembly with the King’s Commissioner.
The province is a tier of government, situated right between the municipal authorities and the national government. These tiers of governments work together. The province’s core duties are to be found in the areas of spatial planning, the economy, mobility, nature, water, cultural heritage and public administration.
The province provides employment to almost 1,500 dedicated people, who are responsible for day-to-day operations, long-term projects and everything in between. The members of the provincial government and the civil service work in the provincial government building in The Hague and in a number of district offices. Other provincial employees work on location building or repairing roads, maintaining waterways or operating bridges and locks. The Provincial Secretary runs the overall organization as its managing director.
Every four years, voting residents of Zuid-Holland go to the polls to elect the 55 members of the Provincial Council. The Provincial Councillors are the people’s elected representatives. They meet monthly at the provincial government building in The Hague. The Provincial Council is responsible for setting out the contours of policy, and it oversees the operations of the Provincial Executive. The Provincial Council is similar in its structure and functioning to a municipal council.
The Provincial Executive is responsible for the day-to-day management of the province. The Provincial Council appoints the members of the Provincial Executive for a term of four years. The Provincial Executive implements policy and is accountable to the Provincial Council for its activities. The Provincial Executive consists of five members in the period from 2019 - 2023, plus the King’s Commissioner. The Executive meets every Tuesday behind closed doors. The Provincial Executive may be compared to a municipality’s Council of Mayor and Aldermen.
The King’s Commissioner, Mr Jaap Smit, is the chairman of both the Provincial Council and the Provincial Executive. He is the link between the two bodies. The responsibilities of the King’s Commissioner are numerous. For one thing, he is charged with maintaining law and order in the Province of Zuid-Holland. He also has an advisory role when it comes to nominations for mayoral appointments, and he advises on royal honours. The King appoints his Commissioner for a period of six years, whereupon he may be reappointed.