Government in Hawai‘i is composed of state g government, with its capital in Honolulu, and four County governments – the city and county of Honolulu and the counties of Kaua‘i, Maui and the Big Island‘s Hawai‘i County. The entire Island of Hawai‘i is under county government jurisdiction; no formal government exists at a city, municipal or town level. The county seat for Hawai‘i Island is located in Hilo on the east side of the Island with various county departments – police, fire, licensing, building permits, planning and so on – providing services at locations throughout West Hawai‘i and the West Hawai‘i Civic Center in Kailua-Kona.

An elected mayor and county council lead Hawai‘i County government; a county prosecuting attorney is also elected. All other offices are appointive. The mayor is elected to a four-year term and is responsible for overseeing the various county departments through a managing director and deputy managing director.

There are major county departments: Finance, Planning, Research and Development, Public Works, Parks & Recreation, Information Technology, Environmental Management as well as the semi-autonomous Department of Water Supply. Appointed commissions control the departments of police, fire, liquor control and civil service. Other offices/agencies include Housing and Community Development, Aging, Mass Transit and Civil Defense.

The mayor annually submits an operating budget to the County Council for approval and has veto power of legislation coming from the council. Council members create legislation for the county and are elected at large every two years from nine districts around the Big Island. West Hawai‘i is currently represented by four councilpersons.