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Lawsuit could lead to explanation for no-show worker

The Norfolk Community Services Board has sued to recover money it spent on salary and benefits for an employee who was allowed to stay at home for 12 years.

By naming as defendants the suspended-with-pay worker and four former staffers of the agency, the lawsuit could bring to light the reason no one ever addressed concerns about the employee’s status.

On several occasions, according to the suit, former Director of Administration Brenda Wise was asked by other staffers why the employee still was being paid when she wasn’t doing any work. On each occasion, Wise replied it was none of the staffer’s concern, the suit says.

Alleging unjust enrichment and constructive fraud, the suit seeks $319, 784 in pay and benefits paid to the no-show worker over 12 years.

As reported by The Virginian-Pilot, the case of the no-show worker was investigated by law enforcement, but no criminal charges ever were brought. Three former staffers at the agency – including two of the defendants in the CSB’s suit – have themselves sued saying they were made public scapegoats for the matter when they had no responsibility for the no-show worker.

The employee’s suspension was triggered by an accusation that she brought a weapon to the office. She also was accused of disclosing the positive HIV status of an agency client.

The CSB is a governmental unit overseeing mental health and drug treatment services. It is not under direct supervision of any other government agency.

By Peter Vieth

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