Scavello, Brown Favor Legislation to Amend Current Row Office Structure
2/8/2013
HARRISBURG – In an effort to provide cost-savings to county governments across Pennsylvania with particularly high county populations because of the presence of universities or prisons, Reps. Mario M. Scavello (R-Monroe) and Rosemary M. Brown (R-Monroe/Pike) today voted in support of legislation, House Bill 163, which passed through the House to amend the current row office structure.

More specifically, House Bill 163 would allow commissioners of a county advancing from the fifth to fourth class to allow one person to continue holding the offices of prothonotary and clerk of courts, rather than separating those offices, as currently mandated by state law.

Scavello authored an amendment on this bill to permit county commissioners of counties advancing from the sixth to fifth class and from the fifth to fourth class to allow one person to continue holding the offices of recorder of deeds, register of wills and clerk of orphans’ court, rather than requiring a separate recorder of deeds.

Due to the most recent census numbers, Monroe County’s population – which is increased due to higher education and correctional institutions – signals a change in class of county. That move has the potential to add costs to the county budget, in large part to state law.

“In Monroe County, the register of wills and recorder of deeds are combined into one position, and the prothonotary and chief clerk are combined into separate posts,” said Scavello. “In a fourth-class county such as Monroe, current law requires that these offices are broken down into four separate bodies. However, my amendment in this bill would help save our county more than half a million over the next four years by combining them into two similar positions as is done in many other counties.”

Counties in Pennsylvania are grouped into classes based on population. The 1955 law applies to fifth-class counties – with populations of 90,000 to 144,999 residents – that grow to become fourth-class counties with a population of 145,000 to 209,999 residents.

“This legislation would allow counties, like Monroe County, affected by the law to choose whether or not to separate the one job into two elected positions, forcing them to create a whole new position. At the very least, this decision should be something for the counties to determine without a mandate being forced on them that could easily cost an additional one-half million dollars of expenses for county taxpayers,” said Brown.

This bill also allows county commissioners to recombine offices that are now authorized to be combined but that have already been separated. The recombination of offices would occur at the next election cycle. 

“Not splitting these offices will save Monroe County more than $1 million initially, as well as $200,000 annually in future years,” said Scavello. “I am hopeful this legislation will pass through the Senate with minimal debate.”

This legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration. For more legislative information, visit Scavello’s website at wwwMarioScavello.com or Brown’s website at www.RepBrown.com

Representative Mario Scavello
176th District

Representative Rosemary Brown
189th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives


Media Contact: Lauren Whetzel
717.260.6451
lwhetzel@pahousegop.com
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