What is a County Commissioner?

The three-member Board of Commissioners is the chief governing body of the county. Their authority is both administrative and policy-making. Powers and duties encompass:

  • registration and elections
  • assessment of property
  • human services
  • emergency management

  • veterans’ affairs
  • management of county assets
  • appointment of county personnel
  • fiscal management
  • and other related powers and duties

How Are County Commissioners Selected?

The position of commissioner is a county-wide elected office with a term of four years. Under Pennsylvania’s county structure, each party nominates two individuals and then the electorate votes for two. The top three vote-getters become the three-member Board of Commissioners. This mechanism assures that each county has minority party representation on its board, creating a check-and-balance within the board.

What Types of Meetings Do County Commissioners Attend?

The Board of Commissioners is most visible in commissioners’ meetings, where all legislative action and all board decisions occur. In addition, there are many other types of meetings which commissioners attend: salary board, election board, pension board, prison board, and others. Strict rules govern the meeting process, set out in the Sunshine Act.

County Commissioners Are Responsible
for the County’s Budget and Finances

The county commissioners are responsible for the county’s budget and finances. They hold primary responsibility for monitoring and guiding the fiscal management of the county government.

The County Board of Election Handles Voter Registration

Counties are responsible for voter registration and the conduct of elections. The commissioners serve as the County Board of Election (except in years they are running for re-election) and are responsible for all duties relating to the election process.

County Operations and Services for Citizens

The commissioners must also work with row officers and other officials to ensure that all county operations function smoothly and that citizens receive needed services.

In addition to county oversight and operations, commissioners are leaders who are active in the community and seek to facilitate positive change.

About Bedford County, PA

Bedford is one of 67 counties in Pennsylvania. Bedford is a 6th class county, defined as having a population between 45,000 and 89,999. There are 24 6th class counties in Pennsylvania.

(Source: Adapted from Pennsylvania Manual for County Commissioners)