Barbara Reilly, who reigned over the Bucks County Register of Wills Office for 35 years, pleaded guilty in county court Friday to instituting a system of paying employees with comp time to work the polls for her and other Republican candidates.

Reilly, who was first elected in 1975, also pleaded guilty to tampering with records.

Her former second deputy, Rebecca Kiefer, pleaded guilty to similar charges and did not contest a theft charge for stealing change from a cash box.

Sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 9, with Reilly facing a maximum sentence of 25 years and Kiefer a sentence of 33 years, though the terms are expected to be considerably less.

Reilly and Kiefer were charged March 4 with theft, conspiracy, official oppression, tampering with records, and other crimes. The charges were recommended in a 240-page investigative grand jury presentment that says workers in Reilly's office were pressured into doing work for Republican candidates and paid with comp time.

First Deputy James McCullen faces lesser misdemeanor charges, essentially accused of knowing about the alleged chicanery and going along with it.

A fourth defendant, former administrator Candace Quinn, pleaded guilty Sept. 14 to charges similar to those Reilly and Kiefer faced. She is awaiting sentencing and was available to testify at the others' trial.