Pension dispute heats up in Harford

BY PAT FARNELLI

The Harford Township meeting was filled with tension near the outset, when Supervisor Garry Foltz refused to approve the bill list or sign checks presented Tuesday, Oct. 7 because of his disapproval of secretary and supervisor, Sue Furney’s pension fund.

Foltz said that Furney, as a part time township employee, is not eligible for a pension plan, and that it has never been approved by the township’s auditors.

At the Sept. 10 meeting, Foltz was asked why he voted no to the bill list. He then stated that he objects to the pension for Furney, his reason being that the auditors did not approve it. This was noted in the minutes for last month.

At the Oct. 7 meeting, Foltz said that he has checked the minutes of the board of supervisors going back many years, and that employees must be full time to be eligible for a pension plan, working more than 35 hours per week.

He also claimed that her pension was approved retroactively in 2003 for two years prior. “In my opinion, it isn’t legal,” he said. “The minutes of the board have you voting for your own pension plan.”

Furney responded that she has the minutes saying that the auditors did approve her pension plan.

“This is just another hit against me,” Furney said. “You have taken away my overtime, you have taken away my personal time, you have cut my pay…”
Foltz said, “Never has a resolution come before this board about policies, duties, benefits, job descriptions, or employees.”

Furney said that she has a letter from the township solicitor, Attorney Drew Hailstone, saying that she has a pension. She said that she was also approved for two previous years retroactively when her pension plan was approved, along with three other township employees.

Foltz said that the pension was approved on Feb. 10, 2004, retroactive to Jan. 1 of that year. He said that the pension plan was approved if it met stipulations to be covered under Act 2005, which it never was, according to Foltz. James Ketterer, a part time roadmaster, was also considered in the same motion, first made at the January 2004 meeting, but his pension was never approved.

Foltz said that all compensation has to be approved by auditors.

“I have shown this to local authorities, who have advised me not to approve the bill list or sign the check,” he said.

Furney also said that the solicitor found a case where a municipal secretary/supervisor was allowed to continue his or her health insurance although not originally approved.

She also said that she checked the auditors’ reports of December sessions, and that they did approve her pension.

In other business, the Act 13 Impact Fee funds were received in the amount of $204,000 for the township.

Supervisor Doug Phelps said that some of the impact fee funds could be used be used on current road projects. He said that Section 3 of the township road work has been completed with the exception of FEMA work. A pipe on Wescott Road has been installed as a FEMA project, and the area has been seeded and inspected.

Dava Rinehart Cowan and her husband Joe Cowan attended the meeting to inquire about erosion that is washing out their driveway, which may be the result of a project to prevent water from washing into the lake.

The road was built up after a neighbor did the paperwork to obtain a grant, and after the road was raised three feet, a manhole built up, and ditch work excavated to channel water into the woods.

Phelps said that a Soil Conservation officer and a contractor had inspected the site, and a pipe under the road originally included in the plan was deemed unnecessary. The Cowans were asked to bring photos they had taken to the township office.