One day last summer, a man wearing a bus driver's uniform showed himself into the offices of the general counsel for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, where he served court papers on a receptionist.
It was an unusual event because process servers usually call up from the lobby. They tend not to be bus drivers, either. So WMATA officials launched an internal inquiry to find out whether the employee was serving court papers on official time.
What they learned was that even though the bus operator had been on extended leave for 13 years, he still had an active identification card and continued receiving holiday pay and uniform-cleaning allowances.
The investigation also raised questions about benefits to other employees on extended leave, according to documents from the WMATA's office of inspector general that were obtained through an open-records request.
The probe found that the former driver created at least an appearance of a conflict of interest by getting paid to serve legal papers on WMATA.
"The more important issue that came to light from this investigation, however, is that WMATA failed to monitor [the driver] and apparently other employees who were on extended leaves of absence and are allowed to maintain an active WMATA identification card which provides access to facilities and transit benefits," investigators wrote in a report.
The employee "had use of a valuable service that cost WMATA money - free transportation - for 13 years during which time he did not work," the report concluded. "He also received a monetary benefit from WMATA - cleaning allowance - for which there appears to be no logic........."
Logic? Government? That was so freakin' hilarious I blew a bunch of Mountain Dew through my nose onto my computer screen.
Paying people not to work?
Now that's "Progressive"!