A handful of employees on the city’s Department of Education payroll have been receiving hefty paychecks, despite not showing up to work in nearly a year, according to the New York Post.
The administrative failure was finally caught by recent external investigations, and had gone on for at least a year despite pleas by the special schools investigator that the DOE address the problem, documents obtained by the Post show.
“It is a recurring problem that DOE employees disappear from assignments for long periods of time but continue to get paid,” said a March 2011 report by Special Commissioner of Investigation Richard Condon. “No one accepts responsibility for the mistake.”
“The problem continues, and the DOE has not reported a plan to correct it,” Condon wrote after another probe in February 2012, according to the paper.
Of the employees busted for collecting their salary without showing up to work are former Queens school psychologist Janet Strobel, who admitted that she “just stopped going to work” for a year because of emotional distress, but still earned $108,000.
When asked by the Post why she accepted checks from P.S. 37 in Jamaica for the entire 2008-09 school year, despite not working, Strobel replied: “That’s none of your business."
Condon also busted Manhattan teacher Maegan Henriquez-Ford, who after being denied sick and injury leave, stopped showing up to work and still earned $115,000 from Dec. 2009 through Sept. 2011.
Bronx aide Rita Anderson went out for the same wrist injury three times in five years, taking time off for at least 1.5 years, and was overpaid more than $31,000, as well, the report shows.
According to DOE spokeswoman Connie Pankratz, these were “unique situations” that were immediately corrected, and all three employees have been since fired.
Earlier this month, IS 49 teacher Francesco Portelos made waves with the DOE when he a conference room in Queens were he was supposed to be assigned administrative work. The teacher was pulled from his classroom in April, but was still making $75,000 doing little in the rubber room.