It is important to consider, and then define in the tree ordinance, the individual who will be assigned the responsibility and authority for the administration of the tree ordinance.

The administrator should be a member of the government staff, and while sometimes this is the city or county arborist or urban forester, more commonly it is the public works, community development or planning department director, city manager, or city clerk.

Tree ordinances usually state that the administrator may designate someone to administer the ordinance.  For example, “the administrator of this ordinance is the director of community development, or his/her designee”.  The day-to-day administration is often given to the city or county arborist, urban forester, or planner, or to staff in the public works, community development, or other department.  In some cases–usually in smaller communities–the tree board chairperson is designated as the administrator of the tree ordinance.

Another option that communities commonly use to assist in the administration of the ordinance is to hire a consulting arborist or urban forester.  This individual may be hired to provide a certain number of hours per week assisting in tree ordinance administration, or on an as-needed basis.  They may be given the responsibility to review tree plans, make site inspections, and provide technical expertise, information, and education to those working with the tree ordinance.  The person hired should at a minimum be an ISA Certified Arborist.

Whoever is given the role of administrator of the tree ordinance, they should have a solid knowledge of trees and their needs, tolerances and proper care.  This individual should be supported in getting continuing education and attending workshops and meetings where they can gain additional knowledge and discuss tree ordinance issues with others performing this role from other communities.