Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nice work, if you can get it

A public employee in Norfolk, Virginia has just been fired after twelve years of not showing up and still getting paid and yet new Community Services Board executive director Maureen Womack, despite admirably canning the "employee" and referring the case to local cops, apparently still doesn't feel like it's any of the local peasants' business exactly who that "worker" was and precisely how much they were being paid to "work": 

"The head of the agency refused to identify the employee but acknowledged in response to inquiries from The Virginian-Pilot that an employee was "on the board's payroll who had not reported to work in years."

Maureen Womack, the agency's executive director, said she fired the employee, informed the board that governs her agency and asked City Attorney Bernard A. Pishko to investigate the matter earlier this summer. Pishko's investigation is nearly complete and will soon be turned over to the Norfolk police, she said.

Womack also refused to divulge the employee's salary."

The Virginian-Pilot presumably wouldn't put up with that sort of blatant stonewalling from a private business which isn't subject to Freedom of Information laws.  So why are they allowing a city agency to do it to them?

What's even worse is the clueless reaction of City Councilman Tommy Smigiel, who is going to make darn tootin' sure he and the rest of the council discuss this case during their upcoming taxpayer-paid vacation:

"He said the council needs to publicly discuss the recent revelations at its retreat next month. 'We need to send a message to the citizens that they can trust us,' he said."

Um, because using a regularly-scheduled meeting in the council chambers to discuss the situation for free would be a bad idea for exactly what reason?

That retreat is sure going to send a message, Mr. Smigiel.  We're just not convinced it's the one you want to convey.

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