Operation Púnica

The octopus on a €60,000 salary

Friend of arrested Parla mayor who dressed up for election rally received top-grade wage

Madrid Socialist Party secretary Tomás Gómez with Carlos Carpio in his octopus costume during the 2011 campaign.
Madrid Socialist Party secretary Tomás Gómez with Carlos Carpio in his octopus costume during the 2011 campaign.ULY MARTÍN

Carlos Javier Carpio Arenas is a childhood friend of José María Fraile, the mayor of the Madrid satellite town of Parla who was arrested last week as part of the Operation Púnica raid against a major bid-rigging scheme. He is also friends with Tomás Gómez, the secretary general of the Madrid Socialist Party.

Carpio Arenas makes over €60,000 a year as a city maintenance coordinator in Parla, which has a population of over 125,000. His job category is “peón,” which places him at the low end of the civil service scale, entitled to a basic wage of 14 payments of €1,100 a year. Yet 2012 reports on staff salaries show he was earning a gross salary of €3,400 a month, which included bonuses for productivity, on-duty work, seniority and more.

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During the campaign for the 2011 municipal and regional elections Carpio made a public appearance at a rally organized by the Madrid Socialist Party (PSM). He showed up dressed as an octopus, a humorous reference to Paul the Octopus, the real-life cephalopod who accurately predicted the results of several soccer matches at the 2010 World Cup, which Spain won.

There was no such luck for the Madrid Socialists, however, who went on to obtain their worst results in regional history at the 2011 elections. Tomás Gómez, their secretary general since 2008, included Carpio on the party ticket, in 53rd position.

His is not the only case of a low-ranking municipal worker receiving a top-grade salary in Parla. Marcelino Saludes Lera, the mayor’s chauffeur, earns over €64,000 a year. Although his basic salary is just €920 a month, he gets an additional €1,000 for holding that particular position, €600 for productivity, €536 for availability, over €200 for being on duty outside working hours, and €143 for seniority, among other bonuses.

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