Newly re-elected Franklin County judge must retire

Faulkner County Judge Joe Powell

FORT SMITH (Arkansas News Bureau) Franklin County Judge Joe Powell, just re-elected in November, hopes to finish his two-year term in office as an appointee even after he complies with a requirement to retire next month.

Under the state's Deferred Option Retirement Plan, eligible state employees may collect pension benefits in an interest-bearing account while continuing to work, but the program has time limits. For enrollees within the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System, DROP participation is limited to seven years, at the end of which they must retire.

Powell, who has served as county judge since January 1977 and was re-elected in November to serve through 2014, enrolled in DROP in 2006 when he became eligible based on 28 years of public service. He must retire by March 1.

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