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‘Break in service’ unlikely for Humphreys

Granted, the General Assembly’s treatment of Court of Appeal Judge Robert J. Humphreys is shameful.

No one seems to suggest that he is unworthy of appointment to a second eight-year term, but he has fallen victim to political infighting that resulted in the failure of the legislature to fill about 30 vacancies and reappoint him and fellow CAV Judge Jean Harrison Clements.

Although technically still in session, the legislature can’t do anything about filling those vacancies until April 23 when it reconvenes. Humphreys’ term expires April 15, so he will be off the bench at least a week.

Assuming that the General Assembly comes to its senses and takes action on the pending judicial appointments, as it is expected to do by the end of May at the latest, there will be no effect on his retirement benefits.

Dire consequences for a “break in service” are largely a myth, according to Brian Goodman, legal affairs and compliance coordinator for the Virginia Retirement System. Humphreys will get credit for any month in which he is employed by the state. Even if he were to have a month with no service, he would lose only that month, and his benefits would continue to accrue with his reappointment, Goodman said.

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