Thursday 18th July 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

Yarm TC: Wherefore Art Thou, Romeo?

September 22, 2023 Letters, Town & Parish
Yarm TC: Wherefore Art Thou, Romeo?
A Letter to the Editor from a very concerned PAMELA CHRISTOPHER, who has been doing a little digging through Yarm Town Council’s records, following the publication of earlier Enquirer revelations about disturbing news about Yarm Town Council
Clearly, there will be more to come . . . but first, where the devil is Romeo? And what is the Shakespearian equivalent of an “inside” job?
~~~~~

Readers may be relieved to know that not everyone seems to be suffering the “slings and arrows” of the cost of livingcrisis. Yarm Town Council’s only employee Juliet Johnson is doing very nicely for a part-time and unqualified Town Clerk. Perhaps someone is helping her out? Or not doing their job properly?

An examination of the Town Council’s website shows that, for example, in February and April this year, Yarm’s Town Clerk “picked up” £1,341.88 and £1,375 and paid tax and NI of £882.42 and £912.64, respectively (see below):

Not bad for part-time work!

However, by June of this year, the Town Clerk found herself “taking home” almost £2,300 a month, an increase on her previous monthly pay of almost a THOUSAND pounds!

This extra amount seems to be (as the accounts aren’t too clear) a result of the Town Clerk enjoying not one but two income streams from the Town Council. The first in her capacity as a part-time Town Clerk, and the second by virtue of a consultancy contract that was “awarded” to Ms Johnson in her personal capacity and WITHOUT the Town Council bothering going to tender.

This second income stream is paid at the MUCH HIGHER RATE of £24 an hour, rather than the lower Town Clerk’s rate.

It is even more shocking that when the contract was given to the Town Clerk (at Yarm Town Council’s meeting in December 2022), it was then BACKDATED to July 2022. This meant that the Town Clerk was to be paid, and now has been paid, for work that she carried out VOLUNTARILY; this according to an FOI response from the Town Council.

Nice work if you can get it.

It is also somewhat surprising that even an unqualified Town Clerk would seemingly be oblivious to the accountancy failings of combining payments for two separate items (May Salary + YTHHC work +), as shown above.

Transparency, transparency! Wherefore art thou, transparency?

Even more SHOCKING is the fact that, by September 2023, the part-time and unqualified Yarm Town Clerk had managed to achieve a feat which would make many envious of such magical powers. Ms Johnson has not only managed to boost her part-time salary from a typical monthly take-home pay of £1,350 a month to an incredible amount of £3,101.62 and £2,601.82 for the months of July and August 2023, she has also, according to Yarm Town Council financial records, managed to avoid paying Income Tax and NI altogether, as shown in the table below:

Somebody must be turning a blind eye to something.

Come on Juliet: who is Romeo?

Mrs P Christopher
A very concerned member of the public
Yarm-on-Tees

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