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Council Tax Payers Could End Up Footing Bill

Wednesday October 23 2013




EVERY council tax payer across the borough could end up footing the bill for the dishonesty of a town clerk who helped herself to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Jan Cooper, 52, was jailed for eight years earlier this month after she admitted stealing almost £300,000 and fraudulently taking out loans of £700,000 in the name of Brierley Town Council.

Her actions left Brierley Town Council more than £1million in debt - and it could now end up being abolished, a packed meeting heard last week.

If that happened, the debts could end up being passed to Barnsley Council to settle, although it would inherit some assets which could be sold to help offset the losses.

The cabinet are meeting next month to discuss whether Brierley Town Council is still needed.

A petition calling for its abolition was collected in 2011 with about 1,400 people saying they no longer wanted it.  

Cooper, who had a history of false accounting and theft from employers, had already served three years behind bars before she even got the job as clerk to Brierley Town Council.

At last Wednesday's meeting, organised by Mayor Pat Doyle, a number of residents asked how the council was unaware of Cooper's criminal past.

One said proper records should have been kept, checks should have been made and there should have been an audit trail.

"If this was a hospital or a school it would be in special measures," he added.

Mr Doyle said the council was pursuing the bank that had allowed Cooper to withdraw money, as she should have only been allowed to take up to £500 without councillors' permission.

"There has been failings all round," he added.

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Reply Posted by rach on Wednesday October 23 2013 at 11:13
Saw this coming. So predictable. Squeeze everyone elses purses to make up for a loss. What a joke. It will be used as a scapegoat too to hike up already high taxes.

Reply Posted by STEVEO on Wednesday October 23 2013 at 14:42
Council Tax increases anyone?

Reply Posted by Mike Lee on Thursday October 24 2013 at 10:40
They'll blame the Coalition Government for it again!!

Reply Posted by x on Thursday October 24 2013 at 13:08
makes a change from blaiming the unemployed for it again mike lee

Reply Posted by adrian on Friday October 25 2013 at 07:37
If this low life had a history of thieving why wasnt checks done before she started the job?..whoever employed her should be sacked

Reply Posted by Kim on Friday October 25 2013 at 07:49
I'm sorry but councils fault councils problem-cut back on your expenses! Most working people in Barnsley don't get any expenses at work so why she we fund a loss when proper checks weren't carried out!

Reply Posted by Hannah Wassell on Sunday October 27 2013 at 21:14
If they do that I'm gunna refuse to pay anymore! This is bullsh*t

Reply Posted by me on Tuesday October 29 2013 at 14:05
Jan cooper for mayoress.