In CUHL counties, the chief administrative officer is generally responsible for the use and control of all machinery, tools, supplies and material owned or used by the county in the construction, reconstruction, repair, and maintenance of county roads and bridges. T.C.A. § 54-7-112. Although not as clearly stated in the general law, it appears that the CUHL considers the chief administrative officer responsible for the operational control of all road and bridge work whether or not the chief administrative officer is in personal supervision of a particular project.
In keeping with this general operational supervision of the county roads and bridges, T.C.A. § 54-7-201 authorizes the chief administrative officer in CUHL counties to remove or cause to be removed any fence, gate, or other obstruction from the roads, bridges, and ditches of the county and to clean out and clear all ditches along or adjacent to the county roads. Any person who refuses to remove such an obstruction from a county right-of-way upon direction of the chief administrative officer is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Utilities that have the right or permission to place transmission lines, telephone or telegraph lines or poles on or along the right-of-way of any county road must do so under the direction of and with the permission of the chief administrative officer. T.C.A. § 54-7-201.
The chief administrative officer is empowered to employ legal counsel or solicit the use of counsel retained by the county to prosecute or defend litigation caused by or necessary to the operation of the county highway department. T.C.A. § 54-7-110.