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To serve as a township supervisor, an individual must be a registered voter of the township and must have resided in the township for at least one year before their election. To continue serving as a supervisor, an individual must retain residence within the township.
Role of the Board of Supervisors
Section 607 of the Second Class Township Code charges the board of supervisors with the general governance of the township and gives the board both legislative and executive powers. As such, the board of supervisors combines many of the roles found in separate branches of the state and federal governments. The board exercises its legislative functions by setting policy, enacting ordinances, adopting budgets, and levying taxes. The board also performs all executive functions such as formulating the budget, providing for ordinance enforcement, approving expenses, and hiring and overseeing employees.
It is important to note that the Township Code vests all authority and responsibility for the township in the board of supervisors, not the individual elected township supervisors. Election to the office of township supervisor authorizes that individual to participate as a voting member at meetings of the board of supervisors. The board of supervisors exercises its authority through affirmative action of a majority of the entire board at legally advertised meetings that are open to the public. It is the board of supervisors, through majority action, that is the decision-maker in all township matters. As such, any township supervisor must first receive authorization from the board of supervisors before proceeding to act on behalf of the township.
The Township Code gives the board of supervisors’ flexibility to determine how a particular township will operate on a day-to-day basis. Small townships may not have a formal department structure or may only have a road or public works department. In addition to public works, large townships will often have separate departments for parks and recreation, police, code enforcement, finance, and water and/or sewer service, usually overseen by an appointed township manager. The organization of each township is based on local needs and is determined by the board of supervisors.