Judge chips away part of former Benzie sheriff’s pay dispute suit

Benzie Circuit Court Judge James M. Batzer has dismissed part of former Benzie County Sheriff Robert Blank’s retirement benefits lawsuit against the county.

At issue is $250,000 in past and future payments that Blank says he should be getting, according to a report in The Traverse City Record-Eagle.

“Blank retired from the sheriff’s department in 1997 as a sergeant, and draws about $1,300 a month in retirement benefits from that stint. The county said paying Blank additional retirement benefits for his eight years as sheriff would amount to ‘double-dipping,'” according to the report.

Chuck Clarke, a former county administrator, said that the county board could have okayed additional benefits beyond those collected by Blank under the Municipal Employee Retirement System of Michigan but the board “didn’t want to set that precedent.”

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