Bucks County Herald

Richland supervisor dismisses public calls to step down

CLIFF LEBOWITZ



At the May 8 Richland Township board of supervisors meeting, several residents criticized Supervisor Rick Orloff for his campaign to establish accountability by the independent Richland Township Water Authority to the township.

Responding to demands from residents at a packed Richland Township board of supervisors meeting that he step down, Supervisor Rick Orloff said he would not, but added that he “might after another year.”

He is currently in the second year of a fourth six-year term, which he has already announced will be his last. Later in the May 8 meeting, supervisors voted unanimously to have their solicitor investigate the possibility of the township changing from a Township of the Second Class to First Class, and having five supervisors instead of three.

The demands for Orloff’s resignation, which came from a dozen public comment speakers in the crowd of more than 50, whose attendance was organized in response to his criticism of his fellow supervisors, were met with shout-outs of approval and applause. The individuals were primarily critical of his campaign at supervisor meetings, and otherwise, dating back to last year, to establish accountability to the township by the independently-established Township Water Authority, whose executive director is Supervisor Tim Arnold. The speakers characterized Orloff’s criticism as a personal vendetta, and said it represented the latest of a pattern of other personal attacks and vendettas, dating back to the beginning of his tenure. As an alternative to his resignation, they proposed a reconciliation with Arnold to foster the unity that is needed for productive government operation.

Orloff responded that his efforts had represented matters of substance, a claim that was met with shouts of derision, and he also listed various accomplishments. He refuted a variety of charges, including that he called for disbanding the police force, saying that he was instrumental in establishing it, and was only in favor of exploring the possibility of converting to a regional department. To claims he wanted to cut funding for the township’s volunteer fire departments, he said he was only calling for consideration of consolidation.

During his supervisor report at the May 8 meeting, supervisors Chair Tim Ritter said there had been two instances of “election fraud” in the township during the runup to the May 16 primary. Questioned about it after the meeting, he said “deception was probably a better word” to describe the promotion of two candidates who have withdrawn from the race.

When Orloff did not get support he wanted from Ritter for his campaign regarding the Water Authority, he pledged to seek a candidate to oppose Ritter in the primary. That turned out to be Bob White, who withdrew after being advised he did not meet the legal residence requirement. With the withdrawal happening too late to remove White from the ballot, any votes cast for him will be discounted. Another candidate, for township auditor, was withdrawn before appearing on the ballot. Ritter said he “wasn’t sure” Orloff was not aware of the qualification deficiencies, while Orloff has stated they were related to “bad homework, not bad faith.”

Also at the meeting, supervisors voted unanimously in favor of having their traffic engineer conduct an evaluation of sight distances, as well as traffic and speeding studies, for the intersection of Station Road and Terrace Drive, across from the QMart.

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