An officer of a State or political subdivision is an employee by statutory definition.
Generally, the statutory authority establishing the position describes the occupant
of a position as a public officer if, in fact, that is his/her status. Indicative
of such status are provisions that the individual has tenure in his/her position and
that he/she takes an oath of office. Generally, a public officer exercises some part
of the sovereign power of the State or political subdivision.
A mayor, member of a legislature, county commissioner, State or local judge, justice
of the peace, country or city attorney, marshal, sheriff, constable, or a registrar
of deeds is a public official. Other examples are tax collectors, tax assessors, road
commissioners, members of boards and commissions, such as school boards, utility districts,
zoning boards, and boards of health.
A notary public and a juror perform the functions of a public office but are not public
officers and are not employees.
Reference: Social Security Ruling 72-36