Andrew Maylor, the chairman who ushered in sweeping changes to the troubled Essex Regional Retirement Board, announced yesterday that he will resign from his post Dec. 1.
Maylor, Swampscott's town administrator, starts a new job as town manager in North Andover on Dec. 16. State law prohibits him from serving on the board in his new job because North Andover is a member of the retirement system.
Yesterday, Maylor said the state statute is the only reason for his resignation, which he called "bittersweet."
State law requires the board to fill vacancies within 30 days; Maylor's position as the board of directors' fifth member has been posted, and applications are due Nov. 22.
A state agency named Maylor board chairman in March 2010 to replace Timothy Bassett, who had served as both chairman and executive director of the retirement system. Bassett was fired after a damning audit report.
"I'm not sure what I expected when I applied to serve on the board," Maylor said. "I knew there were some issues, but I couldn't have imagined the issues were as deep as they were, (which) I discovered in the first 30 days.
"... It shook my thought about where government had come. With the progress we had made, to think that there were still bodies operating in this fashion was remarkably disappointing," Maylor said. "There was no subtlety in terms of figuring out what needed to be fixed. It was more (a question of) the breadth of what needed to be fixed."
The Essex County Regional Retirement System serves 19 towns and administers the pensions of 5,000 public employees.
The 2010 state audit cited the system for a long list of deficiencies, including poor record keeping, repeated violations of the Open Meeting Law and improper operating practices — from lavish expense accounts for board members to spending thousands of dollars on lawyers and consultants chosen without going through the public bidding process.
Maylor was at the helm of sweeping reforms, starting with his first meeting as chairman in April 2010. He also oversaw the process of hiring the system's new executive director, Chuck Kostro.
Yesterday, Maylor said credit is due to a multitude of people, from the district attorney's office and state Sen. Bruce Tarr to numerous town managers in the area.
"It wasn't going to be good enough to fix the problems," Maylor said. "We had to show everyone that we could be the best-run retirement system. ... We couldn't be the middle of the pack, we had to be a symbol, a beacon, of what was right."
Maylor's last meeting with the board will be Nov. 28.
The remaining four members of the board will review applications on Nov. 28 and possibly do interviews at their Dec. 19 meeting with a goal of appointing someone by the end of December, Kostro said.
Maylor's resignation is the first vacancy the board has had since a state-mandated reorganization in the fall of 2010. Kostro was hired in March 2011.
"In my time here, working with Andrew (Maylor) and the board has been a real pleasure," Kostro said. "... The board of directors has been real leaders in making change here, and (Maylor) has been a key person in all of that. I'm going to miss working with him."
Kostro said the only requirement for Maylor's successor is that he or she is not a retiree or member of the system. He or she is not required to be a resident of Essex County.
The board's fifth member does not necessarily have to be the chairperson. Board members are paid an annual stipend of $3,000. Details of the position are posted at www.essexregional.com.
Maylor, a Lynnfield resident, has been town administrator in Swampscott for nine years. He will make $145,000 per year in North Andover.
Staff writer Bethany Bray can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.