PICA: Eliminating Some Row Offices Could Save $15 Million A Year

Does Philadelphia have too many independently elected officials?

A report released today by the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority -- a state agency that oversees the city budget -- recommends shedding four of the city's "row offices" for an estimated annual savings of $13 to $15 million. Those offices are the sheriff, register of wills, clerk of quarter sessions and the city commissioners.

The PICA report argues that there is no clear benefit to having elected officials overseeing those government functions and says the structure just creates more bureaucratic expenses. PICA says that the services provided by those offices could be absorbed by other offices or the city court system.

"The functions of government should be organized on the basis of efficiency and effectiveness, not on the basis of an inherited centuries-old structure," the report reads.

In 2005, voters in Allegheny County — which includes Pittsburgh — approved a plan to get rid of the clerk of courts, coroner, jury commissioners, prothonotary, recorder of deeds and register of wills. The offices were consolidated and elected officials replaced with three appointed posts, for a savings of over $1 million and reduced political influence in city government.

To read the full PICA report, click here.

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