Audit reveals state employee was giving free massages on the clock

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SEATTLE -- An auditor's Whistleblower investigation revealed at a former Department to Ecology employee spent more than 85 hours and gave more than 67 massages to other agency employees over the course of a year.

The employee, a spill responder with the Department of Ecology, spent a total of 64 days giving free massages as part of a requirement to gain her massage license.

The auditor's investigation based its allegation on a search of the woman's laptop and also cited her for visiting social networking sites, sending personal emails to her husband (also an employee at the agency) and conducting personal online searches related to cooking and travel. Each of these actions is in violation of the state's ethics rules, the report said.

In total, of the 406 personal emails sent, 271 were related to the woman's personal massage business. She also used the Department of Ecology's Health Wellness Room for the massages.

By the end of 2012, the woman spoke with her agency co-workers about setting up her own shop and solicited their business, another violation of the state's ethics rules.

The woman left the Department of Ecology before the investigation was completed. The auditor sent out a reminder to the agency as to what is acceptable use of state resources such as laptops and email software.