Row Officers

Each of the county's 9 row officers is elected at large for a 4-year term. As specified by Pennsylvania law, row officers include the following:

  • Clerk of Courts
  • Controller
  • Coroner
  • District Attorney
  • Prothonotary
  • Recorder of Deeds
  • Register of Wills
  • Sheriff
  • Treasurer

The title of row officer came about in the early years of the constitution when the departments were first listed in a row on the election ballot. Their services, such as providing passports, marriage licenses, death certificates and firearm registrations, are often more familiar to residents than their actual office titles. Row officers' duties can range from issuing dog and hunting licenses to prosecuting criminal cases, maintaining the county's auditing responsibilities, and enforcing the law in a variety of court matters.

Row officers receive office space and budget allocations from the Commissioners' office, but primarily function independently.

Requirements & Restrictions

Each row officer must be a citizen at least 18 years old who has been a county resident for one year prior to the election. A row officer cannot be a:

  • Federal employee
  • Member of Congress
  • Member of the Board of Health
  • Member of the legislative body of any municipality
  • School director

District Attorney candidates are further required to have been admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania at least one year prior to election.

Election & Appointment

Some of the row officers run for election in the same year as the County Commissioners; the others run 2 years later. In case of death or resignation of a row officer, the governor may make an interim appointment until a successor can be elected, the Court of Common Pleas Board of Judges makes an interim appointment to the Office of District Attorney.