Large payouts strain state pension system – Raleigh News & Observer Local –

In 2005, Charles R. Franklin Jr . filed for retirement after running the Albemarle Mental Health Center for 34 years. The first and only director of the public agency serving northeastern North Carolina – one of the state’s poorest areas – started collecting an annual pension of $145,000.

But Franklin didn’t really retire. He returned to the center as a contract employee, with pay and perks totaling $289,000 one year and $319,000 the next. When the state Treasurer’s Office learned of the arrangement, it said the contract violated state law; he was forced to return the pension funds he had received.

The lucrative deal caught the attention of news reporters and the state auditor, and suddenly everyone knew about the free spending and mediocre service of Franklin’s center. By early 2009 he had been fired. The center was shuttered, a victim of mismanagement, lavish benefits and financial conflicts of interest.

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