We don’t yet know how many county officials have engaged in the fake retirement funny business Rep. Allen Kerr (R-Little Rock) has unearthed, but I am beginning to believe it extends far beyond the three Garland County elected officials already nailed for “retiring” (by not taking a paycheck for three months) and staying in office without ever formally vacating it so that they could then capture retirement pay for their elected office and the elected job’s pay at the same time.

That is, your county clerk may be serving as county clerk and drawing that paycheck plus his/her retirement pay for serving a number of years as county clerk. Ask them, please.

These elected public servants have been doing this without notifying the public, without vacating the office, without “terminating” employment, which Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has now said is required to receive retirement pay.

An honest public official would retire for real. The job would be declared vacant. It would be filled by appointment until the next election. If these officials want to double dip by running again, voter should know that a double-dip was part of the plan.

You may be sure county officials don’t see it this way. A friend of one blog reader is a retired public official. He/she is not a double-dipper, but the rationale offered for his/her double-dipping colleagues for this apparently widespread practice is a lame pile of self-justifying hooey. They’re saving money for us, see. They sure aren’t very proud of it since they’ve kept it a big secret — until now.

The scam is slick, however. Even though the rules now require six months of unemployment to draw public retirement pay, elected officials can quietly “retire” after they’ve been effectively re-elected in a May primary (if they have no general election opponent) and nobody is the wiser when they “go back to work” in January on a new term.

I think there’d be a lot less of this, however, if these double-dipping scoundrels had to announce what they were up to. I await all of them to write me who’ve done it and defend their decisions, by name.

UPDATE: Here’s a county official who did the double-dip legally and transparently, the Pope County coroner. (He also did it safely after he knew he faced no opposition to re-election. And it’s worth noting that much of his retirement credits came from work with Pope County EMS.) I think the legislature needs to extend the retirement time for elected public officials so the declaration has to be made before a primary election that is often tantamount to re-election.)

QUESTION: Did the officials who  fake retired continue their public health insurance?