Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Judge: County sheriff must be elected - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Who wants to run for Sheriff as a Libertarian?
Judge: County sheriff must be elected - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Allegheny County's longstanding tradition of electing a sheriff will carry on, at least for another five years, a county judge ruled today.

Common Pleas Judge Eugene B. Strassburger III sided with the Sheriff's Association of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in its lawsuit to keep the county and Chief Executive Dan Onorato from holding a public referendum in May asking voters to decide whether the county sheriff should remain an elected position or be appointed by the chief executive.
We need a candidate for this office.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Strassburger wrote in his 15-page order and opinion that the county is prohibited from changing its form of government more than once in five years.

In 2005, the county amended its form of government by alllowing six of 10 row offices to be appointed rather than elected. Appointed department heads now include the medical examiner, register of wills, prothonotary, recorder of deeds, clerk of courts and jury commissioners. The four court-related offices are being phased out this year.

The county attempted to circumvent the five-year rule by having the decision on the sheriff's position take effect in 2010.

Strassburger said his ruling should not be viewed as an opinion on the outcome of any future referendum. That decision would be left up to the voters.

"Let us see what the effects are of the 2005 amendments to the home rule charter providing for appointive row offices, and after the five year moratorium, if the County Council and county executive still desire, this referendum would be timely," Strassburger wrote.

The 15-member County Council voted in February to amend its form of government and put the sheriff question to voters. The nixed referendum essentially would have combined the sheriff's office and county police under the executive branch.

Proponents of the change said consolidating the sheriff's office and county police would create a leaner, more efficient law enforcement agency. Opponents argued it would give the chief executive, who would appoint the sheriff, too much power.

Onorato proposed the legislation.

The sheriff's office guards the county courthouse, transports inmates and serves official papers. In recent years, the office has employed more than 180 workers with annual budgets exceeding $11 million.

Jason Cato can be reached at or 412-320-7840.