John Parsons

MARCH 22, 2012: The Commonwealth’s Public Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) has voted the appointment of Attorney John Parsons to the post of PERAC General Counsel. This key position had become vacant when Barbara Phillips, longtime General Counsel, retired. Phillips had been with PERAC and its predecessor PERA since 1984.

Parsons was well-known as State Auditor Joe DeNucci’s Deputy Auditor/General Counsel. He continued in a similar capacity under new Auditor, Suzanne Bump. He had also served as DeNucci’s designee on both the Teachers’ Retirement Board and PERAC as a Commissioner.

As General Counsel, Parsons heads PERAC’s Legal Unit which assists the seven commissioners and staff by providing day-to-day advice regarding all aspects of the agency’s operation.

The unit is responsible for studying all changes in retirement law and newly enacted pension legislation and reporting to the Commissioners, which in turn send notices or directives out to all 105 retirement boards.

Of further importance to retirement boards, the Legal Unit reviews all disability pensions and accidental death benefits as voted by the boards. In other words, a board’s vote does not become final until approved by PERAC’s Legal Unit.

Prior to graduating from law school, Parsons worked as a special needs teacher in the then small town of Norton. This, plus a stint as a legislative assistant at the State House, provided a humble, but valued foundation, as he moved further up the professional ladder.

A sports enthusiast, of which he was a participant in his younger days, Parsons now lives in Dracut where he coaches both basketball and baseball teams as part of the town’s youth programs.

Officials of the Commonwealth’s retirement boards and other public sector agencies which frequently call PERAC’s Legal Counsel for information or assistance welcomed Parsons’ appointment.

“John is fair and impartial,” said Retirement Boards’ President Denis Devine. “Most Board members knew him as a commissioner and feel that PERAC made the right choice from among the several candidates for the appointment.”