Ohio was admitted to the Union in 1803. One of the original offices the General Assembly created was the County Surveyor, which laid the groundwork for the office we know as the County Engineer today.
In the early days, the office of the County Surveyor played a critical role in the development of our state. In 1835 all counties in Ohio began electing County Surveyors to keep a watchful eye over public land, clarifying land titles and boundaries as the state grew into what we see today. Some of the county surveyors were involved with building Ohio's network of canals, and all were called upon to spend more and more time developing the state's integrated system of good roads.
By late in the 19th Century the county surveyor was almost totally involved with building and maintaining roads, bridges, and drainage ditches - but he still received no salary, being paid an average of $5.00 per day only on those days when actually employed. Legislation in 1915 established a salary and the responsibility of also being resident engineer for the State Highway Department.
The year 1928 saw the county engineer emerging as the public official you know today. In that year he was elected to a four year term which started on "the first Monday in January next after his election". Then on August 30, 1935, the title of the office was changed to "County Engineer".
Only persons who hold registration certificates of the State of Ohio as both "Registered Professional Engineer" and "Registered Professional Surveyor" may qualify for the office of County Engineer. The elected County Engineer "shall perform for the county all duties authorized or declared by law to be done by civil engineer or surveyor". Although specifically exempted from engineering responsibilities on public buildings, he is the engineer for all public improvements under the authority of the board of commissioners within and for the county.