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Lower Makefield Resident Questions Retroactive Changes to Police Personnel Records

A Lower Makefield resident says he’s obtained records showing someone is changing police department employment schedules to indicate officers worked on days when previous records showed they didn’t.

In January, Delaware Valley Journal first broke the story that Lower Makefield police employee records showed an officer who was out on disability was being paid as if he were working.

Now, resident Tim Daly says he has documents showing records being altered, and he’s emailing township supervisors, solicitors, and the Bucks County District Attorney’s office asking for an investigation.

“I am sending this email to alert you that it appears that an LMT employee with access to the police schedule has begun destroying and/or altering evidence related to the misappropriation of funds to ghost police officers by altering schedules that detailed the ghost officers were on duty within the electronic schedule that was used for verification of hourly pay,” Daly wrote. “You should be aware that I have over 50 screenshots of the past schedules that I have accumulated as evidence of misconduct in the police department.”

Asked about what crimes might have been committed, J. Chadwick Schnee, the attorney representing Daly, cited tampering with public records.

“To the extent that Lower Makefield is altering public records to retroactively cover a ghost employee issue, it would be a violation of this section. As is almost always the case, the coverup is usually worse than the crime,” said Schnee.

However, Township Manager David Kratzer told DVJournal that Daly is wrong in his assessment of why the police records are being changed.

“While not intimately familiar with the police department’s scheduling software and while generally aware that it’s common for changes to be made to the department’s schedule to reflect specific circumstances/schedule changes, I can assure you that there are no ‘ghost’ employees employed by the police department,” said Kratzer. “Both of the referenced employees were out of work due to medical conditions and, therefore, unavailable for duty. The schedule changes reflect that reality.”

When shown Kratzer’s response, Schnee said, “I think this leaves more questions than answers for me, as there’s an acknowledgment that the records were altered. If everything was done correctly, why are they being changed retroactively, more than a year after the fact?”

In an email, Supervisors Chairman John Lewis said he is happy to meet with Daly and is “ready to fully cooperate with the Bucks County district attorney or other law enforcement agency in any data gathering or investigation they deem necessary.” However, he also said, “In reviewing your email, I am not certain you have shown a violation of the law. However, I am not a licensed attorney.”

Previously, DVJournal reported on Michael Pell, the DARE officer who had suffered a stroke in 2020 and was on disability yet was paid as if he were working full-time.

Police Chief Kenneth Coluzzi explained the department’s policy was to make injured officers on disability “whole,” paying the remainder of their salaries not covered by disability insurance.

Daly said the department records are apparently being changed to show Pell and two others were working when they were not. Pell has since recovered and was hired by the Bucks County Sheriff’s Office.

Richard Burns, chair of the computer science department at West Chester University, said there would be digital footprints regarding any changes made to the programs used by the Lower Makefield Township Police payroll system, PowerTime from PowerDMS. Burns said PowerTime is a modern program with backup features, so changes to the system and logins can be tracked.

“I would be beyond shocked if there wasn’t a digital footprint there,” said Burns.

Neither a spokesperson for Bucks County DA Jennifer Schorn nor Chief Coluzzi responded to requests for comment about the apparent record changes.


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Resident Asks State Officials to Remove Rude Lower Makefield Supervisor

A Lower Makefield woman was outraged when Supervisor John Lewis was caught laughing and swearing at elderly people during an August 9 meeting about flooding in the Maplevale Drive neighborhood. Now she wants state officials to do something about his bad behavior.

Lisa Mason Contawe told Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks), “This is your responsibility to deal with the horrific treatment of Lower Makefield township toward the flooded neighborhood of Maplevale.

“For John Lewis, a member of leadership, to disparage an elderly man is unacceptable, and to ignore the emotional pleadings of an elderly woman is an abomination. I will forward this to every church and senior center in this district. And, of course, this video and this email will be given to the opposition during election season.”

At the meeting, resident Patricia Gamble spoke about the flooding, followed by Richard Adams.

In the moments between the two, Lewis — who was participating via video stream, was heard saying “Sh*t,” and then laughing.

Gamble, 77, was uncertain whether Lewis’ rude reaction was aimed at her or Adams, who, she said, “did a lot of investigations and is trying very hard to help the township with our flooding problem.”

She was having a family party the night of the flood, and along with her husband’s car, relatives and friends also lost six vehicles. The flood left three feet of mud and muck in her basement, and she doesn’t think township officials know what to do.

“They have no idea,” she said. “I think they’re just appeasing the populace by listening to us.”

As for Lewis, “In a way, it’s disrespectful. They should be figuring out what the end game of this is. Are they going to fix the situation?”

The area has flooded before, and residents are tired of losing their cars and cleaning mud out of their homes.

“You get a little aggravated after a while,” said Gamble. “They allegedly put in drainage pipes, but I could see when they were put in, down at the corner, they were nonfunctional, and they are nonfunctional.”

“This was a massive flood,” said Gamble. “Seven people were killed in this flooding at the same time in Washington Crossing. And it could very easily have happened where we are.”

Adams, 83, told DVJournal, “I don’t care for all five of the supervisors. We need a different form of government. They don’t show any leadership at all.”

When DVJournal asked Santarsiero about Contewe’s complaint about Lewis, an email came: “My staff is looking into this and will follow up appropriately.”

Warren did not respond to requests for comment.

Lewis, however, denied that his laughter and profanity were addressed to the residents.

“I made the mistake of not being muted and handling a work issue at the time,” Lewis said.

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