Jarvis Resigns from Warminster Democratic Organization
The resignation comes In light of the committee's intention to review the events surrounding her health care benefits.
In a fiery e-mail sent to members of the Warminster Township Democratic Organization (WTDO) and obtained by WarminsterPatch, Ellen Jarvis announced her resignation from the group, asking for a pro-rated refund of her membership dues.
"Why am I quitting WTDO?" Jarvis writes. "Because the WTDO is neither democratic nor organized."
Jarvis' move comes in response to efforts by members of the committee to schedule a meeting to review the recent revelation that Jarvis had missed the past four monthly premiums for her township-provided health care coverage and her subsequent removal as chairwoman of the Warminster board of supervisors.
"Have your meeting...you'll have to discuss it without me," Jarvis says, "in the usual ranting circles that into which our meetings always degenerate...You can call for my resignation from the Board of Supervisors, just like any other resident can do. I'll be saying no."
In the e-mail, and in other forums, Jarvis contends she did nothing wrong because the payments were voluntary, as per an opinion letter written by township solicitor Michael Savona in July 2010. According to Jarvis, the letter says, "Supervisors can receive medical benefits coverage for themselves and their dependants (sic), without any required reimbursement to the Township for any associated costs." WarminsterPatch is making attempts to acquire a copy of the letter.
During the May 12 board of supervisors meeting, Savona said Jarvis misinterpreted the letter, and her acceptance of the health care benefits without payment of the premiums constituted a pay increase and violated Pennsylvania state law.
"I deeply respect the public trust I have been afforded," Jarvis says in her e-mail to the WTDO. "Those who know me and my values (as I thought you did) would never have to 'discuss' this fact with anyone, ever. I have never, and would never, do anything to violate that trust. Have I made mistakes? Of course; I am human."
Jarvis asked the rest of the board of supervisors to allow her and her husband, John Jarvis, to enroll in Warminster township employees' group health plan in May 2010. Upon her admittance, Jarvis says she made the premium payments throughout the rest of 2010 at a grand total of $12,000. After her husband lost his disability payments and she was laid off from her full time job, Jarvis says she could no longer afford the payments.
She submitted a letter to township manager Bob Tate on April 27, 2011, informing him of the situation. Jarvis says the letter also states she will resume payments as soon as possible. In her e-mail to the WTDO, Jarvis says she did not inform Tate earlier out of embarrassment for her predicament.
"Ellen Jarvis is no longer associated with the WTDO in any way," said committee chairman Jim Brickman. "I know she is going through hard times and I wish her well in the future."
Brickman said Jarvis' resignation has left plans for a review meeting "up in the air."
In the e-mail, Jarvis declared she has no intention of resigning from the board of supervisors and plans to form her own organization, Independent Democrats of Warminster. She ends the letter stating she has found full-time employment, beginning Tuesday.