Political Centerpiece

SEPTEMBER 2006 - Lt. Governor’s
Criticism Stirs Members

Lt. Govern Healey’s attack
on our public retirement law was the big buzz at
the Massachusetts Association of Contributory Retirement
Systems (MACRS) annual conference this June,chaired
by MACRS President Tom Welch.

Healey’s comments on abolishing local retirement
boards were the opening salvo of her campaign in
hoping to succeed Mitt Romney as governor in this
November’s election. And, unfortunately, a
segment of the press echoed Healey’s position
on pensions.

In response, speaker after speaker praised the success
of our 106 retirement systems and the dedication
of the boards who run these systems. Among the supporters
were State Senator Steve Tolman and State Firefighters
President Bob McCarthy.

For 600 delegates and guests, it was three days
of non-stop workshops, meetings, guest speakers and
networking, all part of an educational and legislative
process, whereby retirement board trustees and staff
continue their policy of providing our employees
and retirees the best possible representation and

MACRS Legislative Chairman Ralph
White, along with Shawn Duhamel and Coley Walsh,
not only presented an in-depth analysis of all
relevant bills at the State House but also reminded
the members of Lt. Governor Healey’s intents.

“MACRS is bipartisan, but when a candidate
makes criticism of our retirement plan a campaign
centerpiece, we have a duty to speak out,” White
said. “There were several Republicans among
the attendees, but none disagreed either publicly
or privately,” White noted.

John Murphy: Public Service Award

A highlight of the conference was the awarding of
the annual Bill Lynch Memorial Public Service Award.
This year, Tom Welch presented the award to John
Murphy of the Plymouth Retirement Board.

Previously Murphy was an elected member of the Somerville
Retirement Board for over 30 years.

He worked for Somerville’s
building department and was also its emergency
management director. When he moved to Plymouth
after his retirement, the Plymouth Board of Selectmen,
recognizing his experience, appointed him to the
Plymouth Board of Retirement in 1998.

A World War II Navy veteran, Murphy saw considerable
action in the Pacific and was later called to active
duty during the Korean War. He and his close friend,
Bob Drew of the Natick Retirement Board, were on
neighboring ships that were both hit by Japanese
aircraft near Midway Island.

In presenting the award, Welch praised
forty-five years as a public retirement activist
and his leadership within MACRS, including as the
organization’s president in 1980-1981, and
his ongoing duties as a member of the MACRS Executive
Board and official planner for its conferences and
other events.

“At age 81, John has never slowed down, said
Welch. People don’t realize the amount of work
involved in arranging our conferences. John works
with the hotels, reserving rooms for 600 people,
creating a daily schedule of events, scheduling guest
speakers, planning meal menus and setting up booths
for over 75 vendors. John is known far and wide as ‘Mr.