TITLE 9

Counties

County Officers

CHAPTER 91. GENERAL PROVISIONS


As used in this chapter:

"County offices'' or "county officers'' means the elected or appointed public officers of the respective counties and includes county council members, Levy Court Commissioners, clerks of the peace, members of the boards of assessment, receivers of taxes and county treasurers, collectors of delinquent taxes, county comptrollers, registers of wills, sheriffs, recorders, coroners and any other officer, board, commission, department or agency (other than a court or judge) whose jurisdiction is limited to a single county; provided, however, that the Prothonotaries of New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County shall not be considered to be county offices.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 9101; 66 Del. Laws, c. 185, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 91, § 1.;

The county government of each county shall provide and assign office space for the respective county offices and, whenever occasion requires, may change such space and assign different space. The county officers shall occupy, and their offices shall be located, in the space assigned to them from time to time by the county government or chief administrative officer.

Code 1852, § 24; 15 Del. Laws, c. 331, § 1; 19 Del. Laws, c. 26, § 19; 26 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 4; 26 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 4; Code 1915, §§ 1275, 1431; 29 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 1478, 1589; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9102; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 26A.;

The county government of each county shall provide for the county offices in their respective counties, the necessary record books, cases, seals and supplies for the use of the offices, for the preservation and security of the public records, the convenience of business, and for public accommodation.

Code 1852, §§ 24, 460; 19 Del. Laws, c. 26, § 19; 26 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 4; 26 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 4; Code 1915, §§ 386, 1275; 29 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 360, 1478; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9103; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 26B.;

The county officers shall keep all records, books, papers and other things belonging to their offices, in their respective offices.

Code 1852, § 22; Code 1915, § 1430; Code 1935, § 1588; 47 Del. Laws, c. 248, § 1; 48 Del. Laws, c. 298, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9104.;

(a) County offices shall be open each day except legal holidays, Saturdays and Sundays.

(b) If a county officer refuses or neglects to attend at his or her office for the transaction of business, as required in subsection (a) of this section, the county officer shall be fined $8.00 for every such offense.

(c) A deputy of any county officer may attend for the performance of such services as are strictly ministerial.

Code 1852, § 22; Code 1915, § 1430; Code 1935, § 1588; 47 Del. Laws, c. 248, § 1; 48 Del. Laws, c. 298, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9105; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Each Saturday shall be a legal holiday for all elective and appointed officials, deputies, clerks, bailiffs and other employees of New Castle County, including all officials and employees of the government of New Castle County and for all elective officials of the City of Wilmington and for all appointed officers and employees of the Mayor and Council of Wilmington (except members of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and firefighters).

Code 1935, § 3321; 47 Del. Laws, c. 143, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9106; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 26C; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 110, § 138.;

Each county government, whenever the pay day for employees falls on a holiday, Saturday or Sunday, may pay the employees their salaries on the day immediately preceding the holiday, Saturday or Sunday.

47 Del. Laws, c. 172, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9107; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 26D.;

All the fees, costs, allowances and other perquisites which are taxable and paid to any county officer for any official service rendered by any such officer, shall be for the sole use of the county of such officer, and when received shall be paid to the receiver of taxes and county treasurer or department of finance thereof.

23 Del. Laws, c. 60, § 1; 24 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 1; Code 1915, § 1433; 28 Del. Laws, c. 82, § 1; 30 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 1; Code 1935, § 1592; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9108; 50 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 1; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 26E.;

(a) Every county officer in each of the counties shall collect all fees, costs and allowances by law taxable by or payable to such officer, without any deduction, abatement or remission, except fees, costs and allowances payable by the county to such officers, and shall keep in a properly indexed fee book an itemized account showing the amount of each fee, item of cost and allowance by law taxable by or payable to such officer, and the service for which the same was rendered or charged, the date of payment and the name of the person paying the same. On or before the fifteenth day in each month, every such officer shall file with the receiver of taxes and county treasurer or department of finance and with the government of the officer's county an account of all fees, costs and allowances received by that officer in the preceding month, which account shall be so itemized that it may be compared with the fees, costs and allowances as entered in the fee book.

(b) The correctness of the accounts so rendered shall be verified by the affidavit of the officer rendering the same. Each of the officers shall also, on or before the fifteenth day in each month, pay over to the receiver of taxes and county treasurer or department of finance all the fees, costs and allowances so received from any source, which shall be payable to the receiver of taxes and county treasurer or department of finance as provided in § 9108 of this title.

23 Del. Laws, c. 60, § 2; 24 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 1; 24 Del. Laws, c. 86, § 1; Code 1915, § 1434; 28 Del. Laws, c. 82, § 1; 30 Del. Laws, c. 81, §§ 1-3; Code 1935, § 1593; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9109; 50 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 2; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 26E; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The fee book mentioned in this chapter shall be a part of the records of the office for which it is kept, and shall be at all times open to inspection and examination.

23 Del. Laws, c. 60, § 12; Code 1915, § 1444; Code 1935, § 1603; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9110.;

The county comptroller or department of finance shall, during the months of January and July in each year, audit, inspect and examine the books, accounts, papers, records and dockets of the several county officers and ascertain the amounts due to the county in fees. During those months, he or she shall report in writing to the county government, which shall cause the same to be entered at large upon their minutes and published in pamphlet form for distribution.

23 Del. Laws, c. 60, § 5; 26 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 8; 26 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 8; Code 1915, § 1437; Code 1935, § 1596; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9111; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 26F; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Each county officer is made liable upon his or her respective official bond, for the payment to the receiver of taxes and county treasurer or the department of finance of the county of such officer of all the fees which such officer shall collect. All the official bonds to be entered into by the officers shall contain the following condition: "And if the said....... shall truly and without delay pay over to the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer or the Department of Finance all the fees which it shall be his or her duty to collect and which are to be paid to the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer or the Department of Finance.'' The county government shall cause proceedings to be brought on any of the bonds for the breach of the foregoing condition for the recovery of the penalty therein.

23 Del. Laws, c. 60, § 3; Code 1915, § 1435; 28 Del. Laws, c. 82, § 1; 30 Del. Laws, c. 81, §§ 1-3; Code 1935, § 1594; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9112; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, §§ 26E, 26G; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) If any county officer fails, neglects or refuses for 10 days to pay over all fees, costs, allowances and perquisites he or she receives and collects for use of the county of such officer, or fails to collect the fees required to be paid by law, or demands or receives from any person any fee or allowance greater than is provided by law, he or she shall be fined not more than $1,000, or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both. Such officer shall also be liable in a civil action for the amount of such fees, costs, allowances and perquisites as he or she may have thus illegally withheld.

(b) Whenever any officer is convicted under this section, it shall operate as a forfeiture of his or her office, and he or she shall be removed from office by the Governor within 10 days from the date of such conviction.

23 Del. Laws, c. 60, § 11; Code 1915, § 1442; Code 1935, § 1601; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9113; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) Every coroner, recorder and clerk of the peace, elected or appointed for any county shall, at the next term of the Superior Court in that county, after his or her election or appointment, before entering upon the duties of his or her office, become bound to the State with sufficient surety by a joint and several obligation in the penalty of $3,000 with condition "that if the above named....... who has been duly elected (or appointed) to be....... shall and do well and diligently execute his or her office of....... as aforesaid and duly and faithfully fulfill and perform all the trusts and duties to the said office appertaining, and truly and without delay deliver to his or her successor in office, the seal and all the books, records and papers belonging to said office safe and undefaced, and if the said..... shall truly and without delay pay over to the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer or Department of Finance all the fees which it shall be his or her duty to collect and which are to be paid to the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer or Department of Finance, then this obligation shall be void and of no effect, or else shall remain in full force and virtue''; except that in the condition of a coroner's obligation, the clause beginning with the words "and truly'' and ending with the word "undefaced'' shall be omitted.

(b) The Register of Wills of New Castle County shall be required to give bond for the sum of $10,000; the Register of Wills of Kent County shall be required to give bond for $5,000; and the Register of Wills of Sussex County shall be required to give bond for $5,000. The bonds shall be in the form provided in subsection (a) of this section and shall be approved by the Resident Judge of the respective counties and the bond shall be executed in each case by the Register of Wills before entering upon the discharge of his or her office.

(c) The acknowledgment and approval of all the obligations specified in this section shall be certified by the Judges of the Superior Court then present.

(d) The obligation of the recorder shall be recorded in the Judgment Docket of the Superior Court, and shall be filed there. The other obligations required by this section shall be forthwith delivered to the recorder to be recorded and filed in his or her office.

Code 1852, §§ 441-443; 14 Del. Laws, c. 42; 16 Del. Laws, c. 24; 23 Del. Laws, c. 60, § 3; Code 1915, § 379; 30 Del. Laws, c. 43; Code 1935, § 348; 41 Del. Laws, c. 74; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9114; 51 Del. Laws, c. 120; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 26E; 66 Del. Laws, c. 185, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Repealed by 73 Del. Laws, c. 91, § 2, effective Jan. 1, 2002.;

The several bonds and recognizances of the several officers provided for in §§ 9114 and [former] 9115 [repealed] of this title as well as the official bond of any constable of the several counties shall be cancelled 3 years after the expiration of the terms of office of the several officers and such constable and shall after such time cease to be a lien on any property of any kind of the several officers and such constable or their respective bondsmen.

Code 1915, § 379A; 28 Del. Laws, c. 34; Code 1935, § 349; 46 Del. Laws, c. 56; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9116; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The bonds filed and recorded in the offices of the recorders of deeds in this State shall at the time designated in § 9116 of this title be marked by the recorder "cancelled'' and under the word "cancelled'' the recorder shall sign his or her name as recorder and shall affix the official seal of his or her office. The bond filed and recorded in the offices of the prothonotaries of the Superior Courts in this State shall at the time designated in § 9116 of this title be marked by the prothonotary "cancelled'' and under the word "cancelled'' the prothonotary shall sign his or her name as prothonotary and shall affix the official seal of his or her office, and the original bonds shall be returned to the obligors, or if they are dead, to their legal representatives.

Code 1915, § 379B; 28 Del. Laws, c. 34; Code 1935, § 350; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9117; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) Every sheriff elected or appointed in any of the counties of this State, before entering upon that sheriff's office, shall, with sufficient surety or sureties, become bound to the State, by a joint and several obligation to be, with the surety or sureties therein, approved by the Judge resident in the county, for which the sheriff had been elected, namely: the Sheriff of New Castle County, $25,000; the Sheriff of Kent County, $14,000; and the Sheriff of Sussex County, $12,000. The bonds shall be given upon condition that "If the Sheriff shall and do well and truly serve and execute all writs and processes to him or her directed, without delay and shall, from time to time, upon request to him or her made for that purpose well and truly pay or cause to be paid to the several suitors and parties interested therein, their lawful agent, factors or assigns, and to the several officers all and every sum or sums of money to them respectively belonging, which shall come to his or her hands or which it shall be his or her duty to collect and receive, and receive, collect, and pay over all public taxes whatsoever committed to him or her for collection, and shall do from time to time, and at all times during his or her continuation in office, of Sheriff, well and faithfully execute the office and perform in everything the duty in him or her reposed, and the Sheriff shall truly and without delay pay over to the County Treasurer or the Director of Finance all the fees which it shall be his or her duty to collect, and which are to be paid to the County Treasurer or the Director of Finance, then the bond to be void, otherwise to be and remain in full force and virtue.'' This bond shall be entered at large upon the continuance record of the Superior Court of the same county at the time it is taken, and the approval of the surety or sureties and of the bond shall appear on the record.

(b) If any sheriff neglects so to enter into such bond such sheriff shall, ipso facto, forfeit his or her office. The prothonotary shall forthwith certify such neglect to the Governor, who shall thereupon appoint another person, being an inhabitant of the same county, to fill the vacancy until the next general election and qualification of a successor. The Governor shall duly notify the prothonotary of every appointment of a sheriff to fill a vacancy.

Code 1852, §§ 448-451; 16 Del. Laws, c. 14; 17 Del. Laws, c. 34; 21 Del. Laws, c. 202; 25 Del. Laws, c. 55; Code 1915, §§ 382, 383; Code 1935, §§ 356, 357; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9118; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 213, § 5.;

Whoever, being an officer within the provisions of §§ 9114 and [former] 9115 [repealed] of this title, neglects to comply with such sections, shall be fined not less than $500 nor more than $1,000, and shall, ipso facto, forfeit his or her office.

Code 1852, § 444; Code 1915, § 380; Code 1935, § 353; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9119; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Every public officer of Sussex County who is required by law to give a bond for the faithful performance of his or her duties to be approved by the judges of the Superior Court or Court of Chancery shall execute such bond before entering upon the duties of his or her office with sufficient sureties to be approved by any Judge of the Superior Court, which bond shall afterwards be submitted to the Judge of the Superior Court or the Chancellor, as the case may be, for approval as now provided by law. The bond shall have all the force and effect now given by law to such official bonds. The Judges or Chancellor may at any time require additional surety.

30 Del. Laws, c. 90, § 1; Code 1935, § 1591; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9120; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The authorized mileage rate for officers or employees of the several counties who receive mileage from the respective county governments for miles driven in their private motor vehicles shall be at a rate to be determined by levy court or county council.

48 Del. Laws, c. 235, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9121; 50 Del. Laws, c. 238, § 1; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 26H; 57 Del. Laws, c. 370; 60 Del. Laws, c. 11, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 40, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 39, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 184, § 3.;

Every county officer who keeps a public office shall post in some convenient and conspicuous place therein a printed or written list of the fees prescribed in this part, as they relate to him or her.

Code 1852, § 2834; Code 1915, § 4887; Code 1935, § 5375; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9122; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Fees shall be construed strictly and no fee shall be allowed for any service, except where otherwise expressly provided, until it has been actually performed.

Code 1852, § 2836; Code 1915, § 4889; Code 1935, § 5377; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9123.;

Payment of salaries of all county officers, deputies, clerks and employees payable by New Castle County, shall be paid by warrants drawn by the government of New Castle County on the Department of Finance, in such installments and upon such dates as the government of New Castle County shall designate, upon the certificate in writing of the officer employing them that they have faithfully performed their duties up to the end of the payroll period.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 9124; 54 Del. Laws, c. 203, § 1.;

(a) The clerk of the peace, Sheriff, Recorder of Deeds and Register of Wills in New Castle County each may select and employ 1 chief deputy who shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing officeholder. The provisions of this section shall not authorize any elected officeholder to increase the number of employees in any of the several county offices.

(b) The compensation to be paid the chief deputy shall be set by the appointing officeholder. However, the compensation shall not exceed the salary set by statute for the officeholder, except that the salary of the Sheriff's chief deputy shall not exceed the highest salary set pursuant to this subsection.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 9125; 57 Del. Laws, c. 519, § 2; 60 Del. Laws, c. 202, § 1; 62 Del. Laws, c. 9, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 185, § 3; 73 Del. Laws, c. 91, § 3.;