Double-dipping: Neither gone nor forgotten | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Double-dipping: Neither gone nor forgotten

Posted By on Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Retired members of the Public Employees Retirement System now have to leave office longer before they may return to work and claim both a retirement and pay check. But it is still possible. I'm guessing that's at work here, as reported in the Forrest City Times-Herald:

St. Francis County Circuit Clerk Bette Green announced Tuesday that she will retire effective Oct. 1 from the position she’s held for more than 20 years, but resume her role as Circuit Clerk in January.

With write-in deadlines past now and no election opponent (she also was unopposed in the Democratic primary), Green announced her three-month retirement yesterday. She was out of the office when I called about her plans today. I was informed by the Public Employees Retirement System that a new law requires a 180-day retirement before a covered employee may double-dip. But, under certain circumstances, including 28 years of service, a public official can qualify after 90 days of "retirement." Green, according to an office employee, was a county employee for 16 years and has been circuit clerk for 21 years. To qualify for the 90-day retirement option, the employee must, in addition to having 28 years of service, also be a participant in the deferred retirement option plan. APERS can't confirm such participation about individual members such as Green.

If Green has a double-dip in mind — and why otherwise would she retire for three months? — it could be perfectly legal. Also perfectly safe to announce it to voters after escaping election opposition.

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