Commissioner Bill Hansell, a Democrat, argued that "the concept of appointing row offices, offices that are essentially administrative offices, has been part of the reform movement of local government for well over half a century."
Over 1,000 counties throughout the country appoint, instead of electing their row officers, says Hansell. The reason, he claims, is "to continue ongoing competence." He cautioned that the current row officers are "extremely competent and extremely dedicated," and it would be "extremely foolish" of the courts to overlook any of them.
Commissioner Percy Dougherty, a Republican, told his colleagues that this is the third time he has pushed for the appointment of row officers. "These are positions that should not be political," Dougherty stressed.
Commissioner Dan McCarthy stated he liked the idea of having this referendum decided during a Presidential election, because that is when voter turnout is historically at its highest.
Northampton County has appointed its row officers since the inception of home rule in 1978.