Senate Approves Greater Flexibility in Makeup of County Row Offices

HARRISBURG — The Senate passed legislation today sponsored by Senator Richard Alloway II (R-33) that would give counties greater control over the makeup and responsibilities of local row offices.

Senate Bill 744 would allow counties that advance from the fifth class to the fourth class based on population gains to maintain their current configuration of row offices indefinitely. Alloway’s bill would give counties the flexibility to decide whether the new row offices should be added.

“The need to increase the number of county row offices depends on a number of variables, including the total cost to taxpayers, the efficiency in which the current services are offered, and the value the additional offices would provide to county residents,” Alloway said. “These decisions are best made at the local level.”

Pennsylvania counties are divided into eight classes based on population. The County Code currently mandates that any county that advances from the fifth class to the fourth class must increase its number of elected row offices.

In the 2010 U.S. Census, Franklin County’s population climbed above 145,000, advancing the county from fifth to fourth class. Under current law, the county would be required to add two new row offices to handle responsibilities that are currently managed by the prothonotary and register of wills.

The bill would allow counties to reconfigure local row offices at any time if county officials determine the change is in the best interest of the citizens they represent.

Senate Bill 744 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.


Sally Kohr
(717) 787-4651