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A worker was paid for 12 years without ever showing up for work at a Norfolk, Virginia, agency funded by federal, state and local money, officials say.

Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim told CNN on Friday that when a new director took over at Norfolk Community Services Board recently, she was “doing her due diligence” when she discovered the hooky-playing employee was on the books. The director, Maureen Womack, then notified the city attorney’s office, Fraim said.

Sandy Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Community Services Board, told CNN Friday that her agency couldn’t comment because of the ongoing investigation.

On behalf of the city attorney’s office, Norfolk city spokeswoman Terry Bishirjian referred to a statement released on Wednesday that said, “The city attorney’s office, with the approval of Womack, took appropriate steps to prevent any further payments to the employee and the employee was terminated.”

It added, “The city attorney has undertaken a detailed investigation of the circumstances and history of this matter to determine what further personnel actions should be taken, and the board of the NCSB passed unanimous motions supporting the executive director in any further employment actions she might take on the advice of counsel. After all necessary employment actions are taken, the city attorney will turn the matter over to Norfolk’s Department of Police for further investigation.”

CNN affiliate WAVY said that the employee, a woman whose name was not released, “earned” somewhere between $300,000 and $480,000, not including full benefits, from the board over the past dozen years.

“This is not a city employee. She does not work for the city, does not get a city check,” Fraim said. He added that while the Norfolk City Council appoints members to the Community Services Board, the board hires its own director and is autonomous and independent.

The city of Norfolk provides just under $4 million of the local board’s budget a year, Fraim said. Meghan McGuire, a spokeswoman for the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, said the state pays $9.7 million annually and the federal government usually contributes $2.4 million, but this year added $190,000 in stimulus funds.

Fraim expressed concerns about a lack of oversight at the agency.

The Norfolk Community Services Board is a “quasi-federal, state and local agency that operates independently,” he said. “No one really judges their performance, if you will. It’s not a good model.”

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Article courtesy cnn.com

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