California has paid prison officer Shayne A. Ziska his full salary for two and one half years on the condition that he stay at home, says the Los Angeles Times. Ziska, 41, is not disabled, injured or ill. He is, however, under criminal investigation by the FBI for association with members of a prison gang – allegations he denies.
Ziska hasn’t worked since October 2000, when the California Department of Corrections suspended him, pending the outcome of the investigation. Because he has not been convicted or formally charged, prison officials will not fire him. So he sits at home, receiving full pay.
State senators are critical. “It is an administrative nightmare,” says Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough). “It speaks volumes about why people distrust government. They should do their investigation and make a decision: Either terminate the employee or reinstate him.” She believes that the officers could be given some other work in the interim. They could, at a minimum, pick up litter.
“The most difficult thing to fight is a lie,” Ziska said. “You cannot refute a lie.” Since Ziska’s leave began, the state has paid him roughly $150,000.