BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Most second-class townships have three supervisors. They may have five if voters approved the change in a referendum.
The township solicitor (lawyer) and engineer, both appointed by supervisors, are commonly present at meetings.
Other appointees who attend meetings might include a secretary, a treasurer, police officers, special police, sanitation officers, members of a park board and others.
Supervisors may also serve as township secretary or treasurer. Also, supervisors in small or rural townships commonly work for the township as road foremen or “roadmasters,” superintendents or laborers.
In meeting-table discussions, supervisors in smaller or rural townships may not distinguish between their duties as township employees and their duties as elected officials. The solicitor or secretary may lead the meeting, even though both are township appointees.
Development is a primary issue facing township supervisors in rural and recently-rural townships in the commonwealth. Common issues stemming from development include:
- subdivision and land development.
- infrastructure — water, sewer, storm water management, roads.
- services – fire, police, trash and recycling, schools, road maintenance.
- clashes between older residents, who frequently are farmers, and the newer residents of subdivisions who have moved from more urban areas and may be accustomed to more services from their municipal government.
POTENTIALLY USEFUL INFORMATION
Other elected officials include a tax assessor, tax collector and three auditors. The assessor and tax collector serve four-year terms; the auditors serve six-year terms.
Township supervisors are elected at large for six-year terms. One supervisor’s seat is filled in each two-year election cycle.
Townships operating under home rule charters may be organized differently.
Townships reorganize at the first meeting of the calendar year. In reorganization, they name a chairman, vice chairman, secretary, treasurer, engineer and solicitor. Some townships appoint a bank as treasurer.
Vacancies in township offices are filled by the supervisors.
Supervisors’ salaries for serving as supervisors are set by ordinance and cannot exceed $1,875 to $5,000 per year, depending on the population of the township.
When supervisors work for the township as roadmasters, superintendents or laborers, they earn wages and benefits which are set by township auditors and are supposed to be comparable to similar jobs in the area. They also may be paid for use of their own vehicles or other equipment.
For more information, see the Township Supervisor’s Handbook.