Reporter's Guide to Pennsylvania Local Government

what you really need to know when they send you to a meeting

First Class Township

with 5 comments


Most first class townships have five commissioners, but there can be as many as 15.

Township appointees who may attend meetings could include the secretary, township manager, chief of police, fire chief, engineer, solicitor and others.


Other elected township officials include the tax collector, one assessor and one assistant assessor, three auditors or a controller, and a treasurer.

Instead of three auditors or a controller, commissioners of a first-class township may pass an ordinance to have township accounts audited by a certified public accountant.

Commissioners serve four-year overlapping terms. 

If there are five commissioners, they are elected at large. In townships with more than five wards, one commissioner is elected from each ward.

Commissioners’ salaries are set by ordinance, but cannot exceed $1,875 to $5,000 per year, depending on the township population.

First-class townships with three or more police or three or more salaried fire fighters have to apply civil service regulations to those employees.

For more information, consult the Township Commissioner’s Handbook.


Written by pareporter

April 25, 2010 at 11:51 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Is there a code of conduct for Commissioners? Anything referring to a conflict of interest?

    Whitehall township has it’s own Administrative Code. I do not think that Lower Macungie Township has enacted one. If they have not enacted a code, is there an encompassing code that deals with potential conflict of interest of a commissioner of a first class townships ?

    Carol Ellis

    November 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm

  2. “First Class Township | Reporter’s Guide to Pennsylvania Local Government” ended up being a remarkable blog. If only there was far more sites just like this particular one in the the net. Well, many thanks for ur precious time, Russ


    August 4, 2013 at 12:00 am

  3. “A First Class Township – The Story of Pocono Township” is now available wherever books are sold (, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.) I wrote this book after working with a grassroots group of twenty residents of Pocono Township to change our community from a second class to a first class governance in 2013. Unhappy with our leadership, we convinced 63% of our residents to vote for change. It can be done! When the people allow their voices to be heard, remarkable changes can occur. Find out who we had to fight, what we had to do and how we managed this monumental feat. The book is a blueprint and an inspiration for change. A must-read if you and your community are looking for a brighter future. Visit — Jack Swersie

    Jack Swersie

    March 31, 2014 at 10:24 am

  4. Does a secretary in a first class township have to be registered to vote


    June 16, 2016 at 1:56 am

  5. Hi there, I read through a few of your articles here.
    I did have a question though that I hope you could answer.

    I was wondering, How much is the salary of a police? I just got
    out of highschool and I’m thinking of becoming a cop.
    I would really appreciate any help you could give me!


    February 27, 2018 at 10:24 pm

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