Spanish civil servant who had €50,000 salary but failed to do a day’s work for ten years banned from post

A civil servant in the Spanish province of Valencia has been handed a nine-year ban from public posts after it emerged he had been absent from his €50,000-a-year job for more than a decade.

Every weekday morning, Carles Recio, an archives director in Valencia’s provincial government, would turn up at his office only to clock in and head straight out again, before coming back at 4pm to clock out. 

It was a routine he managed to maintain for ten years until last summer, when, after colleagues began to raise suspicions, he was finally fired.

To the ire of local authorities, an attempt to prosecute him was shelved by state attorneys, who considered that his chronic and well-paid absence did not constitute a crime.

But a tribunal in Valencia has now delivered the nine-year suspension over what it said was a “flagrant neglect of the essential duties inherent to the work post”.

Mr Recio has repeatedly claimed that he was not to blame for his absence, for which he has offered varying explanations.

When the criminal case against him was dropped in March, he said that he had in fact been “working like a slave” away from his desk.

Mr Recio said that he had in fact been “working like a slave” away from his desk

“I do documentation work out of the office, the work of a slave,” he told the Spanish television channel La Sexta. “Working like a slave means that I work so that others get the fruit of my labour.”

But the Valencian tribunal rejected that explanation, noting that investigations had failed to turn up any record of work he claimed to have done over the decade-long period.

Neither did it find any evidence for his claim that he had told his superiors he had been left without a desk following an earlier relocation of his offices.

However the tribunal did have strong criticism for the provincial government, which it said had indeed failed to properly supervise the assignment of work spaces. Mr Recio then "became comfortable in the situation that benefited him", it said in its verdict, according to the Europa Press news agency.

Mr Recio’s absence would have been impossible "without the acquiescence or the disinterest of the administration for which he worked," it said. 

Jorge Rodriguez, head of the provincial government until he resigned amid a corruption scandal earlier this month, previously denied any responsibility for Mr Recio’s situation, suggesting the official had created an "ad hoc" job for himself.

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