Board of Commissioners

Carbon County is under the administration of Commissioners Wayne E. Nothstein, Rocky Ahner, and Chairman Mike Sofranko.

The three-member board of commissioners constitutes the chief governing body of the county. Statutory authority of the commissioners is both administrative and policy-making powers.

Carbon County SealSealColorOfficial


Rocky Ahner
Mike Sofranko 
Wayne E. Nothstein

Phone: (570) 325-3611
Fax: (570) 325-3622


Carbon County Commissioners
P. O. Box 129
Jim Thorpe, Pa. 18229

The commissioners are vested with selective policy-making authority to provide certain local services and facilities on a county-wide basis. Administrative powers and duties of the commissioners encompass registration and elections, assessment of persons and properties, human services, emergency management, veterans’ affairs, appointment of county personnel and fiscal management.

In addition to their roles of serving on the county board, the three commissioners are joined by the county controller in comprising the Carbon County Salary Board. In matters pertaining to another elected office, that row officeholder becomes the fifth voting member of the Salary Board.

The commissioners are joined by the controller and county treasurer as members of the Carbon County Retirement Board. In addition, the commissioners comprise the Carbon County Election Board; sit on the Carbon County Railroad Commission; Are joined by commissioners in Monroe and Pike counties in making up the Carbon-Monroe-Pike Mental Health-Developmental Services Board; and are members of the Carbon County Prison Board, along with the controller, sheriff and district attorney.

One of the duties of the commissioners, according to Judicial Code, is to provide accommodations, supporting facilities and services for the Courts. All funding for the courts, except the salaries of the Judges, the Court Administrator and two Deputy Court Administrators, is provided by the county.

Throughout the 20th Century and still today, county governments are charged with acting as an agent for the state for the administration of justice, maintenance of legal records, the conduct of elections and the administration of human services. Safely, it has been suggested, counties are, in many respects, the most important vehicle serving our basic democratic institutions.

Carbon County is a 6th class county. Founded in 1843, it was previously a part of Northampton County. It’s 65,249 residents fit into the range of 45,000 to 90,000 for 6th class counties. The smallest class, 8th – has populations of less than 20,000.

Under Pennsylvania’s county structure, each party nominates two individuals to the office of commissioner, the electorate votes for two, and the top three vote-getters form the three-member board of commissioners.

Commissioners’ elections are unique in the sense that voters get to vote for less candidates then there are actually positions available – in this case, vote for two when three are to be elected. This mechanism assures that each county has minority representation on its board, and by creating a de facto check-and-balance within the board, it can engender a setting that poses philosophical and political challenges.

The manner in which commissioners express their views and vote on issues will normally reflect the philosophy of their political party. This does not mean that the board cannot have unanimous decisions and, in fact, most votes are unanimous. However, there is an errant opinion held by some minority members, that the role of the minority member is to take the opposite view of the majority members on every issue. This is unnecessary and the county will suffer if there is no spirit of cooperation and mutual respect.

All official actions of the board require a vote. That is the philosophy of our democracy, and, despite the board composition being established in a majority-minority manner, successful boards, measured by the public perception of the ability of the county to function and the ability of members to relate to each other, are those where the majority respects the entitlement of the minority members to participate, and the minority recognizes the need to provide responsible, rather than reflexive counter-point.

This relationship results in the ability of individual members of the board to adequately represent their constituents and to achieve reasonable success in individual agendas. Divided boards, caused by the failure of the majority to include the minority in governance or by the strident opposition of the minority to any action of the majority, regardless of relative importance, lead to public mistrust of the board as a whole. At the extreme, this leads to an inability to function in a responsive manner as the public agenda is being incessantly sidetracked by political in-fighting.

In the parliamentary systems, the majority/minority role of commissioners is not determined exclusively by party. Often, personalities and personal philosophies dictate who forms voting blocs.

The particular issue notwithstanding, commissioners’ objectives must always be the best interests of Carbon County and its people.

One of the duties of the County Commissioners, according to Judicial Code is to provide accommodations, supporting facilities and services for the Courts. All funding for the Courts except the salaries of the Judges, the Court Administrator and two Deputy Court Administrators is provided by the County.

Carbon County Commissioners

Legal Holidays

Notice is hereby given that the Carbon County Court House Complex will be closed on the following dates for the year 2024 in observance of legal holidays

January 1 New Year's Day
February 19 Presidents' Day
March 29th Good Friday
May 27 Memorial Day
July 4 Independence Day
September 2 Labor Day
October 14 Columbus Day
November 11 Veterans Day 
November 28 Thanksgiving Holiday
November 29 Thanksgiving Holiday
December 25 Christmas Day