Former Farnsfield Parish Council clerk’s £20k payout error

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

Concerned parishioners are calling for an independent inquiry to find out why a council clerk was wrongly paid more than £20,000 on his retirement.

Mike Salt was paid £21,216 when he retired as clerk to Farnsfield Parish Council in September.

The amount was returned when it was discovered the payment was not in his contract.

The council said this week it did not believe there had been a deliberate attempt to defraud or mislead the parish.

But a concerned parishioner Stuart Dennis says that the error was discovered only after he questioned the payout and asked to see the documentation supporting it.

Mr Dennis said: “The council approved that on 22nd July.

“I questioned why he was getting the money and they said it was in his contract.

“But it appears nobody had looked at it properly.

“We need an independent enquiry and audit to decide what went wrong and what to do to put things on a proper footing again.”

Council chairman Lynda Selby said: “Mr Salt retired from his position as Clerk to Farnsfield Parish Council in September this year after serving for 15 years, during that time he gave loyal and professional support to the council and to the parishioners of Farnsfield.”

She said there had been an issue concerning the interpretation of the contract’s pension provision at the time of his retirement.

The understanding of this provision was erroneous and was based upon the original wording in his contract which had been superceded, which led to Mr Salt being wrongly paid the sum of £21,216.

This was however repaid immediately by Mr Salt as a result of the payment being challenged by Mr Stuart Dennis, and a subsequent request by Coun Selby to repay it.

The parish council had investigated and referred the matter the NALC (National Association of Local Councils) legal solicitor in London,

“The result was that Mr Salt was not in fact entitled to this payment,” said Coun Selby.

“Farnsfield Parish Council does not however believe there was any deliberate intention to mislead or defraud the Parish.”

She said the council had responded openly and honestly after parishioners had raised the issue and the matter was now closed.

Chad visited Mr Salt’s home on Wednesday but he had not responded to our request for a comment as we went to press.