Social Services’ employee earns $70,000 in paychecks without working

Posted at 7:46 PM, Dec 12, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-12 21:41:43-05

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–For the past two weeks city leaders have been demanding answers about serious allegations aimed at Richmond’s Department of Social Services (DSS), specifically the care they’re providing to abused children.

Now questions are circulating about how a DSS employee has been able to earn a paycheck for nearly a year and a half without ever getting to the office.

The incident that led up to this employee being placed on paid administrative leave actually made national news. Attention was drawn to the incident because of a video that was secretly taken last July inside the Richmond Department of Social Services.

The conversation captured on tape was a set up with a fake plot. The scheme was produced by a conservative filmmaker, James O’Keefe, who was trying to expose flaws and waste in government. The video purports to show a Richmond DSS employee telling a man who is pretending to apply for Medicaid that he should omit vital information from his application; including leaving out his criminal past and excluding expensive assets.

The DSS employee was put on administrative leave following the release of the video. The Attorney General, the Virginia State Police and Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones all advocated an investigation was in order. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli called the video “troubling.”

But now what’s more troubling for some, like conservative analyst Norm Leahy, is that a recent city audit shows that same DSS employee is still collecting a paycheck, while she has been out of the building for 20 months.

“Treat the investigation seriously,” said Leahy. “Don’t let it fall through the cracks, don’t let it sit in in someone’s inbox and forget about it.

“That doesn’t serve anybody’s purpose.”

According to payroll findings in the city audit, this employee has collected $56,000 dollars in salary and $14,000 dollars in benefits over the nearly year and half that she’s been told to stay home from work.

“This is money that could have gone in to the care for someone who needed it instead of paying benefits for somebody who is not even at the office,” said Leahy.

Several Richmond City council members are baffled as to how this could have happened. We have contacted the state and local agencies that called for investigating the matter, but have not received a response yet.

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