Plymouth County Treasurer Retires

SEPTEMBER 2006 - McLellan Close Association Ally - When John McLellan began his career in public service,
he never envisioned that some thirty-three years
later he would retire as one of the longest serving
elected officials in the state.

In 1973, McLellan, who is a certified public account,
took a job as the assistant treasurer of Plymouth
County. Three years later, he found himself at the
center of a political storm when his boss, former
Treasurer Larry Marden, died in office. With the
county commissioners divided over naming a successor,
McLellan became acting treasurer on February 1, 1976.

“I never saw myself running for public office,
but given that I knew the position well and was already
doing the job, I decided to run in the 1976 election.
Seeking elective office was truly something my wife
and I had not thought about doing before Treasurer
Marden passed away,” recalls McLellan. “I
won the election that fall and never looked back
for the past thirty years.”

Excellent Returns

Over his thirty-year tenure as treasurer, McLellan
has led the Plymouth County Retirement System, which
he chairs, to be amongst the top performing systems
in the state. Earning an average of 10.74% since
1985, the system now has over $565 million in assets.This
success is impressive by any standard, but can be
seen as extraordinary given the fact that the board
did not use an outside investment consultant until
recent years. Instead, the board relied on the steady
hand of McLellan in choosing investment managers
and setting asset allocation.

The system’s success has paid
off not only for retirees, who have received an
annual 3% COLA since 1998, but also for the member
units of the county system.

“By anyone’s standard, John McLellan
has done an excellent job managing the Plymouth County
System. He has been a leading force in public retirement
policy in this state for over thirty years and has
been there for our members every step of the way,” said
Association President Ralph White. “Most importantly,
he’s been one of our best lobbyists and is
a good friend. I’m hoping John finds a way
to stay involved in public retirement. His knowledge
and expertise is irreplaceable.”

Beyond his duties as chairman of
the retirement board, McLellan, who is an Abington
native, has been responsible for the daily financial
management of the county itself. The strong fiscal
health of the county allowed it to survive through
a series of state takeovers that eliminated county
government in seven of the state’s twelve
counties in the mid-90s.

“John has been an outstanding treasurer and
has enjoyed support from across party lines. He has
been largely responsible for the successful completion
of the new county jail and the management of the
regional health insurance pool,” says Association
Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel, who is a Plymouth
resident.

Under state law, the vacancy created
by McLellan’s
August 9th retirement is to be filled by an appointment
made by the three member county commission. The appointee
would then serve as treasurer until the election
in 2008.

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