The creation of a state association of county auditors was the work of many people across the entire state. Numerous phone calls were made before any concentrated correspondence took place. The earliest record appears to have been a letter of September 24, 1962 when Levi A. Fuller of Greene County wrote a letter to one member of the Board of Auditors of each Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Class County in the state that had a Board of Auditors. This letter invited the various county boards to pass a resolution favoring a state association similar to the existing State Association of Prothonotaries, Register of Wills, Recorder of Deeds, etc., of which there were then eleven (11) associations. The response to this letter was very encouraging.
The response caused Mr. Fuller to arrange a meeting in Somerset, PA that was attended by Levi A. Fuller, Greene County; William J Baer, Somerset County; Luther S. Williams, Indiana County; Eleanor M Linebaugh, Adams County; R.A. Niver, Warren County; and myself. Prior to this meeting Mr. Fuller had received encouragement from Leroy Minor, Prothonotary of Greene County and Harold Dulaney, Recorder of Deeds of Greene County, who were the Presidents of their respective state associations and members of the Pennsylvania State Association of Elected County Officials. Mr. Fuller and myself were selected to attend the December meeting of the Pennsylvania State Association of Elected County Officials. This was a group comprised of representatives of the various State Associations. We were warmly received and invited to attend their January meeting to present a formal request for support for a State Association of County Auditors. Fred W. Lamberton of Erie County, President of the State Association of County Commissioners and Carl D. Butler of Blair County, Secretary of the County Controllers Association were quite helpful in getting us started.
The organization meeting of the Pennsylvania State Association of County Auditors was held March 22, 1963 in the meeting room in the Courthouse of Somerset County. Those present were as follows:
- Eleanor M. Linbaugh Adams County
- Phoebe N. Fox Clinton County
- Marion Ritter Clinton County
- Levi A. Fuller Greene County
- Ewing B. Pollock Greene County
- William J. Hoey Indiana County
- Agnes B. Hood Indiana County
- Luther S. Williams Indiana County
- Harry S. Arisman Somerset County
- William J Baer Somerset County
- Robert R. Moles Somerset County
- R.A. Niver Warren County
We received regrets due to weather from Bradford, Clarion, Elk, Lebanon, Potter, Snyder, Tioga and Venango Counties. The By-Laws of the Association were presented and approved. The elected officers were: Levi A. Fuller, President; R.A. Niver, Vice President; Phoebe N Fox, Secretary; Eleanor M. Linebaugh, Treasurer; Ewing B. Pollock, Solicitor and Luther S. Williams, William J. Baer and Marion Ritter, members of the Executive Committee. Warren County was selected as the site of the first annual convention.
On April 22, 1963, Representative Russell E. Headlee of Greene County introduced House Bill 900, Printers No. 1010, to amend the County Code to provide for a state association of county auditors. Unfortunately this bill did not get out of committee. Our hopes for passage during the 1963 session of the legislature died with the end of the session.
Now we are faced with the prospects of a convention with no money and no idea of what a convention of auditors was all about. The Warren County Commissioners gave us some financial help, the Green County Commissioners printed our program and the Warren County Auditors worded very hard as our hosts to put on a splendid three-day program on October 20, 21 and 22 at the Penn Laurel Motel. The question that presented itself to President Fuller was what do you do. Here again we turned to Carl D. Butler, Secretary of the State Association of County Controllers. He very graciously invited President Fuller and myself to the 49th Annual Convention of the Pennsylvania State Association of County Controllers in September 1963. You can imagine our surprise when we arrived and learned that we were listed on their convention program. Following their convention we were able to formalize our thoughts about what our convention program should be. The outline has changed very little since our first convention in Warren.
During our first convention it was decided that the annual convention should be held in October each year and should move across the state. This would make it easier for everyone to attend and also help with our expenses. The next conventions were held in Clinton County, Lebanon County, Monroe County and Adams County. I might add that the room rates at the Penn Laurel Motel were $8.00 for a single bedroom, $10.00 for a double bedroom and $12.00 for a twin bedroom, plus tax. In attendance at the convention were 22 auditors, 6 guests and 10 counties represented. At our 1987 convention there were 67 auditors, 18 guests and 29 counties represented.
In the 1965 session of the legislature it was decided to have our Bill introduced in both houses, these were Senate Bill #217 and House Bill #339. There was also introduced in the Senate, Senate Bill #232 which included an association for county assessors. Both of our Bills had bipartisan support and passed its respective house but neither Bill passed the second house. This showed our naiveté. We thought if the same Bill with identical language passed both houses surely one would reach the governor’s desk. But it was not to be. In the 1967 session we had only one Bill introduced as Senate Bill #98, this Bill became law known as Act #120 Public Law 289 of 1967. The Pennsylvania Sate Association of County Auditors was now entitled to official recognition. The counties were authorized to pay dues. The Auditors were entitled to reimbursement for their expenses and travel.
After considerable assistance from the State Association of County Controllers we parted company. There was talk at one time of creating one association for the two groups because of the similarity of the work. However, in 1965 while we were trying to secure official approval of our association, someone introduced a Bill in the legislature to force all counties to adopt the controller system. From then until now there has been no close relationship between the two groups.
Following our establishment as a State Association we have sponsored legislation from time to time to assist the county auditors in the performance of their duties and to improve county government. The annual conventions have grown in attendance. The aim of each sponsoring county has been to provide assistance to the auditors of each county by securing speakers and instructors in the area of expertise of audit problems. The conventions have also served a s a clearing house for ideas, a place to exchange solutions to county fiscal problems, and to provide an update to legislative changes. All of this in a friendly and cooperative atmosphere.
Solicitor Emeritus – Ewing B. Pollock, Esq.
1963 – 1989