LARGO -- Among the perquisites for the part time jobs as elected officials in Largo, in addition to salary and health benefits, is a retirement benefit, courtesy of the state legislature.
With the idea that such beneficiaries would be rarae aves, or perhaps for the emolument of a pending long timer getting ready to retire, the legislature many years ago decreed that certain elected officials could receive retirement benefits.
So, yes, there is such a plan that applies to Largo's elected officials, as well as those in every other Florida city, town, hamlet and village.
Two of Largo's elected officials could benefit from the law. One is Mayor Robert Jackson and the other, approaching qualification, is Commissioner Jean Halvorsen.
The law, Chapter 112.048, says, in pertinent part, "whenever any elective officer of any city or town of this state has held any elective office for a period of 20 years or more consecutively . . . such elective officer may voluntarily resign or retire from such office with the right to be paid . . . for the remainder of his or her natural life a sum equal to one-half the amount of salary being paid at the time of resignation or retirement."
The red flag words in the statute seem to be "voluntarily resign or retire."
A plain reading of this would indicate that, for example, if Jackson, who is fully enfranchised under the law, or Halvorsen, who apparently will be next year, fail to get re-elected at any point they would forfeit this benefit which, under current pay scales, is worth $9,101.42 to Jackson and $6,067.61 to Halvorsen.
In other words, you have to resign or retire to collect, and both of those words seem to effectively mean the same thing.
It could be a factor of some weight when pondering re-election for Jackson and Halvorsen. No one else on the commission is anywhere near qualifying under the 20 year rule.
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