DOYLESTOWN >> Don Petrille, Bucks County’s Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans’ Court, was recently installed as president of the Pennsylvania State Association of Elected County Officials (PSAECO).
Petrille is the first Bucks County official to lead PSAECO since its founding in 1957. Each of Pennsylvania’s ten state row office associations is represented in PSAECO by three leaders, who address policy matters affecting county government. He took the oath of office on Wednesday at the State Capitol in Harrisburg.
“It’s truly humbling to be chosen for leadership by a group of people who are excellent leaders in their own right,” said Petrille, who has served as secretary and vice president of PSAECO. “We have a lot of challenges in county government. It’s the ‘invisible layer’ of government that delivers services and maintains our justice system, but it passes very few laws. Leading a group of statewide leaders is a little intimidating.”
As president, Petrille will be an advocate for county government at the state and federal levels.
Among the challenges he sees for himself and PSAECO are ensuring legislative support for law enforcement -- especially funding sheriff and district attorney training programs -- helping to establish electronic bidding procedures for county government, and initiating and maintaining good relationships between state and county governments to solve problems that involve all layers of government.
Petrille is optimistic, saying, “When you have a group of people who are looking out for all of Pennsylvania, and not just their narrow regional interests, it makes accomplishing those goals easier.”
The office of Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans Court is responsible for admitting wills to probate, appointing administrators of intestate estates, collecting inheritance taxes on behalf of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, issuing marriage licenses and processing filings involving estate disputes, incapacitated persons and adoptions. Petrille has served Bucks County in that office since 2012.
The Pennsylvania State Association of Elected County Officials (PSAECO) is established to promote intergovernmental cooperation between counties, municipalities and state government. The organization consists of representatives from the state associations representing county auditors, county commissioners, county controllers, county coroners, county clerks of court and prothonotaries, district attorneys, county recorders of deeds, county registers of wills and clerks of orphans’ courts, county sheriffs, and county treasurers.