Tax Collector: Supervisor's Investigation a 'Personal Vendetta'
Ellen Jarvis claims that the township has overpaid Barbara Loftus for her services in 2010 and 2011. The board's decision to not place the matter on the next agenda sparked Jarvis' public resignation last week.
Warminster Township Manager Rich Manfredi has received written confirmation via e-mail from Supervisor Ellen Jarvis that she is stepping down from office. Jarvis herself as affirmed her intentions in the comments section of Warminster Patch, writing, "I have provided a resignation in writing to the Township Manager and have turned in my keys."
Manfredi has scheduled a special public meeting for Thursday at 6:00 p.m., where the remaining township supervisors will review the letter and decide whether or not to accept it. It's a safe bet that the resignation will be accepted, which will start the 30-day clock to find a replacement.
Jarvis' public resignation came at the end of last Thursday's supervisors meeting. She asked the board to add a full discussion to the next meeting's agenda about what she saw as overpayments made to Warminster Tax Collector Barbara Loftus for her services. The rest of the board denied the request based on township solicitor Mary Eberle's statement that she had found no wrongdoing after conducting her own review. Jarvis then said she resigned and left the meeting.
In a letter that Jarvis sent to the Warminster supervisors and township administration and forwarded by Jarvis to Warminster Patch, she lays out her evidence for the accusations.
In 2008, Jarvis writes, the township passed a resolution that set the tax collector's compensation for 2010 at $24,638 and $25,377 for 2011, plus reimbursements for office supplies and postage. A copy of Loftus' W-2, attached to the letter, shows that she received $46,148.92 in 2010 and $46,794.06.
According to the letter, the source of the large payment difference is a $1,500 per month service fee the township paid to Loftus for collecting and remitting trash collection assessments. Jarvis states that this service fee is redundant to the flat salary Loftus earns, highlighting a section of the 2008 resolution that says the elected tax collector for Warminster shall receive a compensation "for the collection of all taxes and assessments levied by said township (emphasis added by Jarvis) an annual salary in accordance with the following schedule ..."
- 2010: $24,638
- 2011: $25,377
- 2012: $26,138
- 2013: $26,922
Loftus denies any discrepancies with her compensation payments, saying that trash collection is a fee, not a tax and therefore not covered by the 2008 resolution.
"This is part of a personal vendetta," Loftus said. "She doesn't like me because I am a member of the other political party and a practicing Catholic."
Manfredi also denied Jarvis' allegations that there has been any cover up of the payments, saying that her document requests her fulfilled in a timely manner. He says that the personnel issue became a legal matter when Jarvis asked Eberle for her opinion.
Jarvis made headlines in 2011 when she was removed from her position as Chairwoman of the board of supervisors after it was revealed she did not pay monthly premiums to the township employee health benefit plan from February to May 2011. The board also ordered repayment of the missed premiums, which Jarvis states in her comment on Tuesday that she has fulfilled.