This article reviews the policy of appointments of starostas (Bezirkshauptmann) in Western Galicia in the first half of the 19th century, before the province was granted autonomy. Based on the official Gazetteer Schematisms of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria from the year 1799, 1808, 1817, 1827, 1837, 1847 and 1854, this study focuses on the ethnic and social status of officials who formed the top cadre of the Austrian local administration. The main database, ie. the annual lists of all government officials in Galicia published in the gazetteer, was supplemented with information from other sources (memoirs, the press, etc.). Among the 31 office holders examined in this study, the Germans were in a clear majority (17). The Poles, however, formed more than a token contingent (the official register listed six of them). The presence of Czechs or Hungarians was marginal. These figures already contain a great deal of the conclusion. Between 1799 and 1854 Western Galicia was administered not only by foreign officials but also by Poles, who made up 19% of the starostas. As 22 starostas, or 71% of the group, were of noble origin, we may also conclude that the nobility had a dominant position in the administration.