Complications surrounding the Upper Darby parking ticket scandal continue to multiply, but even some township council members say they’re not getting clear information from the lame-duck administration of Democrat Mayor Barbarann Keffer.

The roots of the affair trace back to a January report from CBS3 investigative reporter Joe Holden, who revealed that tens of thousands of parking tickets in the township from 2021–22 had not been processed through the courts — meaning some citizens may have been deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed right to due process.

Shortly after that report, the township council in February approved an audit of the township’s parking department. The audit is still pending, even though it was supposed to be completed already. So for Council President Brian Burke, formerly a Democrat who is now running for mayor as a Republican, a clear answer was nowhere to be found when he quizzed township administrators.

“I was told by [co-acting chief administrative officer Rita LaRue] today that it’s not done,” the township’s solicitor, Sean Kilkenny said at the Wednesday town council meeting.

“And why isn’t it finished?” Burke pressed.

“I don’t have any details beyond being told by Ms. LaRue,” Kilkenny said.

“Do you have a copy of an email to me saying why it wasn’t finished?” Burke pressed again.

“I don’t,” Kilkenny conceded.

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Broad + Liberty asked the various responsible parties if they could provide a substantive reason why the audit was not complete. Those requests for comment to Mayor Keffer, acting co-chief administrative officers LaRue and Alison Dobbins, as well as the auditing agency Brinker Simpson, were not returned.

Burke is confident that the report is finished.

“Brinker and Simpson gave us the report actually in paper, not in an email. They actually gave us a paper saying these were [the investigator’s] findings,” Burke told Broad + Liberty. “All of council has seen a report from Brinker Simpson over two weeks ago, and the township and administration still will not release it.” 

Deepening the intrigue is that although LaRue is cited as the source with the answer to the audit question, both Burke and Township Councilor Meaghan Wagner (R) say they are not sure LaRue is even still in her leadership role.

“I have been told by several sources that Rita LaRue has resigned from her position as Acting CAO. However, even as an elected official, I cannot get confirmation on that from the Administration,” Wagner told Broad + Liberty. Wagner and Burke say their sources have only said LaRue resigned from the co-acting CAO position, but did not completely forfeit her township employment.

“It says a lot about the dysfunction in our government right now that the people’s elected representatives cannot get basic, straight answers about who is responsible for managing day to day duties from this Mayor,” Wagner added “It’s a disgrace.”

As with the parking audit question, Broad + Liberty requested comment through multiple emails over two days on LaRue’s employment, and received no response at all from LaRue, Keffer, or co-acting chief administrative officer Dobbins.

If LaRue’s employment with the township has ended, whether by her decision or the decision of others, it would only serve as another marker of the ongoing leadership vacuum in Upper Darby that has gripped township hall in the wake of an incredible 48 hours in January.

First, Keffer’s long-embattled chief administrative officer Vince Rongione announced on Jan. 25 he was stepping down from his position to spend more time with family. In 2022, Rongione fought a months-long battle to keep his job even as a bipartisan majority of the township council tried to fire him multiple times over accounting issues.

One day later, Upper Chichester police arrested Mayor Keffer on charges of DUI. Keffer would ultimately undergo substance-abuse treatment, and later announced she would not seek re-election.

With Rongione departing just one day before the Mayor’s arrest, the township appointed “co-acting chief administrative officers” to try to carry the municipality along. 

Also at the Wednesday township council meeting, Burke announced the county court administrator had mailed him copies of letters sent to the administration, including township solicitor Kilkenny, regarding the parking tickets.

The first letter, dated May 1, gave the administration a final deadline to provide information that would get the process rolling on adjudicating the backlogged parking tickets never filed with the court — a request the court administration originally made in early February.

“Therefore, the Administrative Office informs you that should the information requested in the February 7, 2023 correspondence not be received by MAY 25, 2023 at 4:30 p.m., the Administrative Office,” will tell the state courts administrative officer “to reject for docketing” the outstanding parking citations from 2021 and 2022.

“This directive will be made based upon your failure to provide the requested information as well as the apparent violations of the statute of limitations governing summary traffic offenses,” the letter curtly concluded.

It says a lot about the dysfunction in our government right now that the people’s elected representatives cannot get basic, straight answers about who is responsible for managing day to day duties.

The second letter to Burke was a copy of the original letter from Feb. 7 seeking information on how the township intended to proceed.

“So [the courts] are asking us, meaning Upper Darby, what do we want to do? Do we want to go ahead and attempt to refile these or not, and they’re asking us — the deadline for this, for our answer is May 25, 2023. That’s how I interpret it,” Kilkenny said at the council meeting.

“I interpret it as the township and solicitor’s office is not responding” Wagner shot back.

Requests for comment to the administration as to its plans for meeting the deadline were also not returned.

Although it’s not completely certain at this point, the township’s ability to move those previously unadjudicated tickets through the courts could impact a recently filed class action lawsuit against the township over the issue.

The lawsuit claims the township violated the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, which states that no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

“The clause also promises that before depriving a citizen of life, liberty or property, the government must follow fair procedures,” an explainer from Cornell Law School says.

The federal lawsuit against the township claims, “Without ever being provided notice (i.e., a summons) and a hearing to contest a parking ticket, individuals are denied their opportunity to appear in court and challenge a purported parking violation. Instead, they are left in limbo and remain liable for ever-compounding fines and live under the fear of prosecution.”

In addition to the due process concerns, Burke said he’s not certain that all of the parking tickets were paid, meaning the township may have missed out on thousands of dollars in revenues.

The original report by Holden shows how far-reaching the township’s failures may have stretched. By examining just one district court, Holden determined that “62 parking violations were heard in 2020 and 73 in 2021, but in 2022 and 2023, there were zero.”

Todd Shepherd is Broad + Liberty’s chief investigative reporter. Send him tips at, or use his encrypted email at @shepherdreports

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