Took six years to notice he hadn’t turned up

The Guardian reports:

Only when Joaquín García, a Spanish civil servant, was due to collect an award for two decades of loyal and dedicated service did anyone realise that he had not, in fact, shown up to work for at least six years – and possibly as many as 14.

García, a 69-year-old engineer, began working for the local authority in the south-western city of Cádiz in 1990, according to el Mundo, and in 1996 was posted to the municipal water board, Agua de Cadiz, where his job was to supervise a waste water treatment plant.

In 2010, when García – who has now retired – was due to collect his long-service medal, the man who had hired him, deputy mayor Jorge Blas Fernández, wondered where he was: “He was still on the payroll,” he told the paper. “I thought, where is this man? Is he still there? Has he retired? Has he died?”

After the former manager of the water board, who had the office opposite Garcia’s, told Fernández he had not seen his employee for several years, the deputy mayor called the engineer in. “I asked him: what are you doing?” Fernández said. “What did you do yesterday? And the previous month? He could not answer.”

The real story is that when it is someone else’s money (ratepayers) you don’t worry about stuff like procedures to check if someone on the payroll is actually doing work.

A court this week fined Garcia €27,000 (£21,000), the equivalent after tax of one year of his annual salary, having earlier found that the engineer did not appear to have occupied his office for “at least six years” and had done “absolutely no work” between 2007 and 2010, the year before he retired.

García told the court that he had turned up to the office, although he admitted he may not have kept regular business hours. He said he was the victim of workplace bullying because of his family’s socialist politics and had been deliberately sidelined at the water board.

Of course he is a socialist – a belief in income without work.

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