Officials in Cádiz were preparing to hand Joaquín García an award for long service when inquiries revealed the true extent of his contribution to the local authority.
In 1990, he was given a €37,000-a-year post at the Aguas de Cádiz public utilities provider, Spain’s El Mundo newspaper reported.
Jorge Blas Fernandez, who served as the city’s deputy mayor from 1995 to 2015, said he was given an office in the municipal building and no more was heard for more than a decade.
“We thought the water company was supervising him but that was not the case,” he added.
“We found out when we were about to present him with a commemorative plaque for 20 years of service.”