A civil servant, for six years, continued to earn a paycheck that had gone unnoticed. The servant in Spain now must pay back more than $30,000 after it was discovered he hadn’t shown up for work, according to Mashable.
The civil servant’s absence was only noticed when he became eligible to collect a long-service award. A court ruling says the employee of a city-owned water utility didn’t appear at the office for up to six years and “did absolutely no work” from 2007 to 2010 prior to his retirement in 2011.
Joaquin Garcia, 69, faced a fine equivalent to one year’s salary after tax and was the most that the company could legally reclaim. The decision marked the end of a legal process lasting years after Cadiz city officials sought the penalty and the worker appealed it.
The court heard that the boss of the water company had not seen the civil servant for six years despite occupying an office opposite his. The water company thought he was supervised by the local authorities and vice versa.
Then-deputy mayor Jorge Blas Fernandez noticed the absence when the civil worker became due to receive a plaque for 20 years’ service.
In 2010, Fernandez, found out that Garcia had not been coming to work. “The manager of Aguas de Cadiz thought he was in the city hall and those at city hall thought he was there [at the Aguas de Cadiz],” he said.
Fernandez, who headed the disciplinary proceedings against Garcia, asked where he had been. However, he “could not answer anything and said that he had been harassed and subsequently left without any further comment.”
In a letter he wrote to the Mayor of Cadiz, Jose Maria Gonzalez Santos, the servant explained that he was forced into working at the treatment plant by his family, who wanted him out of the way. He maintained that he did not want to work there because of the traveling involved.
People close to the civil servant who didn’t work for six years said that he did go to the office, although not for full business hours every day, and that he dedicated himself to reading philosophy.