Have you taken a look at the county’s row offices? I have and will leave you with something to think about. But what is a row office?

The controller is the chief fiscal officer of the county. Recorder of deeds keeps a permanent public record of deeds and documents related to the development, transfer and encumbrance of real estate in the county. The prothonotary receives all civil litigation in the county.

The clerk of courts handles administration of all criminal matters. Register of wills/clerk of the orphan’s court processes estate filings and inheritance tax and is the filing office for the miscellaneous division of common pleas court.

The treasurer receives and deposits money for the operational accounts of the county.

You should be familiar with the roles of district attorney, sheriff and coroner.

Doesn’t it make more sense to turn these into appointed administrative positions within the existing structure of county government? Abolish the elected posts by adopting a home rule charter.

However, I would retain the election of the district attorney, the sheriff and the coroner.

Transfer the responsibilities of the clerk of courts, prothonotary, register of wills/clerks of the orphans to the administrative office of the courts and place the controller and treasurer under the county commissioners.

This shuffle would save the county a little more than $1 million a year in salaries for the row officers and their deputies. Savings in employee benefit costs would be an estimated $300,000. Since certain row office employees would be retained to do the job, that money could help pay their salaries.

It’s doubtful home rule or reducing the number of elected row offices will be given serious consideration in the halls of the courthouse. But saving a million dollars a year is not an issue to go ignored either.

Kirk Wilson


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