Washington auditors say state worker gave free massages on job


OLYMPIA (AP) — A government employee in Washington state gave 85 hours of free massages at work last year as she practiced to become a massage therapist, according to an audit report released Monday.

The State Auditor’s Office said in its findings that the unnamed Department of Ecology employee gave the massages — ranging from 30-90 minute sessions — to her co-workers. Auditors said the 85 hours of free massages does not count the time the worker spent sending 271 email messages related to the work.

Sandi Peck, a spokeswoman for the Department of Ecology, said the agency would be following up to assess the matter further.

“We certainly don’t want to defend it,” Peck said. “It was against policy. We take the ethics policy we have very seriously.”

The employee had been working as an environmental specialist in the agency’s spills program. She no longer works for the agency.

The employee’s Internet history showed that she had browsed social networking sites, music, airlines, cooking information and her personal email account — all apparent violations of agency policy. The state’s email system was used to schedule appointments with other employees, and the massages were given in the department’s “health wellness room.”

Those massages were provided throughout last year, with 13 provided in the month of August totaling 15 hours.

Some of the emails indicated that the worker had discussed converting co-workers to paying customers once she had obtained her license and opened a massage business.

The audit conclusions are being forwarded to the Executive Ethics Board for potential action. Ecology officials say they are working to refresh employees on proper use of state resources, particularly at the Northwest Regional Office where the employee worked.



Iopine says...

This is what happens when you have a bloated government and no control over the employees much less even know how many employees there are to control. Another example of tax money squandered that could have been put forth on education?

Posted 9 July 2013, 11:39 a.m. Suggest removal

VinoTinto says...

She was let go? Now that doesn't sound like a happy ending to me.

Posted 9 July 2013, 3:01 p.m. Suggest removal

ImJustSayin says...

Good one. You beat me to the punch with your reply.

Posted 9 July 2013, 5:20 p.m. Suggest removal

VinoTinto says...

I'm glad someone was paying attention!

Posted 10 July 2013, 3:48 p.m. Suggest removal

chicoli says...

It is ironic that a specialist in spills on the envinronment gets fired when someone might have spilled the beans on her. A disgruntle "customer" with a bad back made worst after her massage "training", maybe?

Posted 10 July 2013, 12:18 p.m. Suggest removal

Iopine says...

Well I have re-read this story and not seeing where she had an unhappy ending yet. She has left the job but after receiving her massage therapist license she no longer needs the government job. They have sent it to the ethics board and basically that will go to the HR for the rest of the employees for a refresher course.

The idea of 85 hours of working time utilized for personal enhancement without being caught was the gist of my first post.

Posted 10 July 2013, 9:10 a.m. Suggest removal

ImJustSayin says...

Namvet60 - google "happy ending" and "massage".

Posted 10 July 2013, 9:58 p.m. Suggest removal

Iopine says...

Now thats a stretch to say the least.

Posted 11 July 2013, 10:47 a.m. Suggest removal

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