Should an employee caught with marijuana at work be put on paid leave? Well, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the answer is yes. Earlier this week, The Daily Caller reported that one EPA employee received 7.5 months of paid leave “after being arrested, jailed and indicted for possession of marijuana”—according to a recent EPA inspector general report.
Said employee eventually settled on a six-month, taxpayer-funded vacation, before voluntary retiring from the agency altogether in October.
This is nothing new: A 2014 IG report revealed that eight EPA employees who violated workplace conduct policies totaled almost 21,000 hours of paid leave and cost taxpayers nearly $1.1 million. (Four of them were on paid leave for over a year.) In fact, the salary cost of EPA employees on administrative leave from 2011 through 2013 was more than $17.5 million. And some employees excused for disciplinary reasons were even rewarded with scheduled pay raises when they returned to work.
It’s a prime example of big-government bureaucracy gone haywire. The EPA’s long history of fiscal mismanagement already includes spending nearly $100 million on office furniture, which some employees used to watch porn in the office. Apparently, you can now add marijuana to the agency’s list of guilty pleasures—all on the taxpayer’s dime.