County governments, and all the secondary offices, boards, committees, and commissions in a county, are creations of the law. They find their origin in either the Tennessee Constitution or statutory law. It is a long established principal in Tennessee law that counties can only do those things that the law authorizes them to do. Therefore it is vitally important to any operation of county government to know what the laws are that authorize the county to perform a function and to know what the laws are that place limitations around that authority. There are laws that require counties and county officials to keep records, and there are laws that govern how a county manages its records.