Dysfunction evidently rules again in tiny Colwyn Borough, Delaware County.
On Thursday night, its manager was fired at a raucous council meeting; she disputed the action and then locked herself in Borough Hall overnight.
"I don't believe I am out of a job," Paula Brown said Friday.
The latest episode followed a contentious council meeting during which Brown and council members shouted at each other and traded accusations - and they still don't agree on the outcome.
Dan Rutland, the code enforcement officer, also was terminated by council just before the meeting adjourned.
But Brown says the motion to remove her from office was not valid because it came after the meeting was adjourned.
Council president Fred Lesher said Brown and Rutland were properly terminated.
"We made some financial cuts," he said.
The borough, which borders Philadelphia and is notorious for political infighting, is only blocks long and has 2,500 residents. It is operating under the state's Act 47 program for financially distressed municipalities. The act requires borough officials to regularly meet with advisers to develop a financial recovery plan.
Lesher said Brown, who was paid $900 a week, would be replaced by the borough secretary and an outside treasurer who will be paid $200 a month. Duties of the code enforcement officer will be assumed by the Police Department or Catania Engineering on an as-needed basis. Rutland made $350 a week, he said.
Colwyn is $1.2 million in debt, which includes bills and pension payments and reimbursements to the state for inappropriate use of the liquid-fuels tax fund, and it has a shortfall in property-tax revenue. Only 82 percent of property taxes were collected in 2014, leaving $181,000 unpaid. The borough has some of the highest real estate tax rates in the region.
"I truly believe you have incompetent people running a town," Brown said. She has been reviewing records and has contacted the District Attorney's Office when she found inconsistencies, she said.
"I have to try to protect the integrity of the records because of the investigation," she said.
"We've been aware of many issues in Colwyn," said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan. Brown had contacted county detectives to come and pick up borough records, he said.
He would not comment on whether a grand jury was looking into borough issues.
Brown insists she will stay on as manager.
"I have a job to do. I cannot let the borough residents down," she said.