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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.

Pete Krenshaw February 22, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Ellen - We will not miss your theatrics and personal vendettas. You have tried to lead with a chip on your shoulder which was painfully obvious to all of us watching. The biggest question we all have is how did you dupe so many people and actually become elected? You talk about fiduciary trust and responsibility as if you actually care about such things but you merely use them as tools of misdirection for personal issues. How about the time you decided to not pay your insurance premiums and attempted to sweep it under the rug? And don't even get me started on the numerous attempts of defamation against Bobby Loftus, our trusted tax collector who has done nothing wrong. Your biggest mistake was not resigning earlier. This last year especially you have made a mockery of our local government, wasting tax payers time and money on your personal issues instead of taking care of the business of the people of Warminster. We will not miss you but I hope you find some peace in your newly found solitude. We will not miss the large shadow your presence has cast on our wonderful township. Let's hope the damage you have caused can be rectified without additional burdens on the tax payers and our public employees.
fubar February 22, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Nice!!! Nothing like your employer sending your W2 to anyone they feel like. I hope the SSN wasn't visible.
James Boyle (Editor) February 22, 2012 at 07:21 PM
The meeting on Thursday at 6 p.m. and open to the public.
Irene Lennon February 22, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Can you please give the actual date of the meeting on Thursday @ 6: p.m. Is it on Feb 23rd? Or is that a mistake as the next Supervisor's mtg. is March 1st.
James Boyle (Editor) February 22, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Tomorrow, 2/23 at 6 p.m.
Pete Krenshaw February 22, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Jim - Is this a special meeting just for this issue?
Karl Smith February 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM
I'll be interested to see how many people show up for this meeting.
Look south February 22, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Ellen Jarvis of warminster, Marianne Reymer of Hatboro same style same everything but the residents of both towns are celebrating these women are out and now business can get done without all their monkey business. Can you say bye bye.
Anita M. Fleck February 22, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Ms. Jarvis is incorrect. The Township Tax Collector is authorized to collect a "Refuse Fee" which is, I believe, then paid to the trash collection company. The Tax Collector does not "set" this fee, it is determined by the winning of the bid for trash collection and then apportioned to each property owner who receives the service. The "refuse fee" is incorporated in the yearly County and Township Tax bill issued every March 1st. If a property owner does not pay their yearly taxes by mid December the information on the tax portion is sent to the Bucks County Tax Claim Bureau who can only collect taxes, while the refuse portion is sent to a collection agency. Therefore, it is not inapropriate for the Tax Collector to be paid for this funcrion. BTW, absolutely LOVE the picture of Jarvis with the balloons!! Sets the tone for a township-wide celebration. "Ding dong the Witch is dead"!
Jennifer Proctor February 22, 2012 at 11:56 PM
If the information Mrs. Jarvis has shared is true at all, Ms. Loftus should stop "practicing" being a Catholic and actually be one. Obey the 7th of the Ten Commandments: "You shall not steal." If Ms. Loftus is so confident in her position, she should be advocating a complete and impartial investigation to clear her name, not ducking from it or worse, whining about it. Even though I do know that Mrs. Jarvis's resignation is the best thing for her to do personally (and I, for one, will miss her), at least she has the gumption to stand up for her principles and beliefs, and put action behind her convictions.
Liz Shockley February 23, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Maybe the township should save their money and residents should deal directly with the refuse companies. Other townships do it and then residents get to choose who they want. Why are we paying $1500/month for the collection of a "fee" and then $2178/month on top of that for the collection of "taxes and assessments"? If the township is looking to save money, maybe they should get out of this business and shave $18k a year.
Pete Krenshaw February 23, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Individually negotiated trash bills can run about $250 per month per household for 4 pickups. Think about what we have and how much we are paying as a township per household and you will see it is MUCH cheaper the way we are doing it. You bring up a valid point that is worth considering but at the same time, we are lucky to have it the way it is.
Richard Luce February 23, 2012 at 12:41 PM
The Township got involved with trash collection to simplify things and because it was in a better position to negotiate a substantial savings over what the residents were paying to the haulers directly. The residents used to have to affix stickers to their mailboxes to show which hauler they were using. The haulers billed the residents directly. . By going to what we have today, we saved the residents money, and confusion. We used to have 5-6 different haulers picking up waste. In a large Township like ours, that was a mess literally. If there was a problem you had 5-6 haulers point fingers at each other. . Now we also have the opportunity now to do single stream recycling, and if there are problems on trash day, we are able to go to one responsible person at Mascaro to get the problem fixed. . We now have a much better arrangement with one hauler.
Susan Curtis February 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM
I agree, however, it shouldn't have been hidden, which is what it is was. If Bobbie Loftus did extra work, I saw no reason to not pay her additional fees. The problem I have is that it was not part of her annual salary salary schedule, or some sort of addendum to the contract, even if there may be some sort of statement in there about "fees" in general. Since it's such a large amount for such a specific thing, I believe there should have been a discussion at a meeting so the public would have been aware of it, at that time. It should also have been specifically added to the schedule of payments.
Richard Luce February 23, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Avoid the confusion. Rescind the ordnance in question entirely, and if the BoS feel it necessary, replace with a new ordnance showing an all-inclusive list of what the tax collector does for the township and the pay schedule for those services. . Whether its a fee or a assessment is not the point, and I believe most residents don't care. If the tax collector performs a service for the township, then obviously she should be paid for that service.
Liz Shockley February 23, 2012 at 01:58 PM
I agree with this. It's very misleading and, to the outside, it looks deceptively misleading. Publish a real salary with the real duties, none of the extras being left out. To that point, no "bonus duties" being missed that could result in extra compensation. Especially for the office of tax collector, we need this position to be above reproach and right now, I don't feel we have that. It may not be Mrs. Loftus's fault, however, clarification needs to be made. Claiming it is a "personal vendetta" takes the focus off of what needs to be done. Clarify the duties and the salary and that's it. I could care less about personal vendettas. who is a practicing Catholic or even what political party anyone is. None of it should even have been mentioned. Clarify your stance and rise above it. This is about the township, money and making where our money goes be as transparent as possible.
Susan Curtis February 23, 2012 at 02:09 PM
That's exactly right. Both of you make excellent points. The bottom line is that if she did the work, she should be compensated, but we don't want it to feel as though anyone was trying to hide it from us. Everthing should be above board.
Richard Luce February 23, 2012 at 02:41 PM
In all fairness to the tax collector, there are times that she puts in an enormous amount of time - even to the point of hiring part-time help. Since I live near the Township building, I see her there on weekends, nights, and such. During tax times, she stays late as a convenience for taxpayers. . She goes out to Warminster Heights, and Centennial Station so those residents can avoid a drive over. If she knows that a senior citizen is near missing payment on a tax bill, she will call them, or sometime go over to see if they just forgot. In order that they won't be delinquent just to forgetfulness. . Yes there are points in the year where the workload is down between tax times and she might put in less time, but to say that being tax collector is a part-time position just doesn't compute.
Pete Krenshaw February 23, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Ellen - You are kidding right? You say this is not a personal vendetta yet you also state in your comment above "3. Ms. Loftus is aware of the actions she took against me in 2010 that caused our long friendship to end." You must think the general public is incredibly stupid to believe we would fall for your continued antics. There are so many other pressing issues which require the Township's attention yet you continue to divert attention to other matters. So long...farewell...don't let the door hit you on the way out.
Pete Krenshaw February 23, 2012 at 08:18 PM
All we ever see is you publicly defaming Bobbie Loftus for some years now. I have seen nothing going the "other direction". You have attacked her on multiple occasions from the dais, trying to have her removed from the administration building, accusing her of being untrustworthy around the files and now again accusing her of being overpaid. Then you accuse everyone else of a coverup. The solicitor and the township manager have publicly stated they have reviewed this issue and there is no wrong doing and then you publicly accuse them of being unbiased and defame their reputation as well. You want to continue wracking up professional fees by hiring yet another person to review the files. This while there are plenty of other items needing the Township's attention. You try to claim a Republican bias but that argument holds no water as Frank Feinberg, your fellow Democrat, is against you. So then you claim gender bias. This whole wretched game you play is vile and disgusting. We can only pray it is truly behind us. You are the snake who needs to go back under the rock from which you have slithered out from. The Township doesn't need the likes of you seeing the "light of day", wasting time, money and other township resources any more.
Sarah Ronzelli February 23, 2012 at 08:57 PM
"Yes, perhaps I am more passionate and emotive; I am a woman" states Jarvis! Come on, you were a public official, please don't start the woman thing!! People like you who set themselves up as savior of the public must not have any skeletons in their closets. You screamed and yelled about Loftus's health insurance. Not telling the public Loftus was paying for her health insurance. Then you decide to go on the Township insurance policy and think you were entitled to the coverage. Oops, you did not want to pay for coverage! Well after you got caught, the Supervisors took your Township check and deducted the amounts for coverage. Now that you have resigned, how are you going to pay the amount you owe the Taxpayers for your past coverage??
Sarah Ronzelli February 23, 2012 at 10:28 PM
"if you want to contine to keep your head underground looking for truth, just remember what part of your anatomy is in the air.stated Jarvis." Oh my goodness, that is your statement, well now I know how narrow your thought process really is!
Tired of Hypocrisy February 24, 2012 at 09:43 AM
If I had not observed the conduct of Ms. Jarvis at meetings, I would be shocked by her comments on this page. Obviously there is something more going on with her than her former position on the BoS. The anger, resentment, obscene and vile comments represent a very troubled woman. Sincerely Ms. Jarvis, please seek medical help. Your personality has taken a 180 degree turn in recent years. Medical professionals can assist you. As you have professed a love of writing and reading, perhaps you would like to review the idiom "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones". Good luck to you Ms. Jarvis.
Christopher Martindell March 01, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Explaining the trash removal process is great. Big words like consolidate, negotiate, and substantial are great. Please, no more about the how we get this benefit from this or why we chose that. Simply put .... Explain why we pay one township employee $ 18,000 a year to use a spreadsheet program once a month and send one check. How about some straight up numbers and stop misrepresenting salaries. Party alliance and religion have nothing to do with this

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