CHARLESTON – State Treasurer John Perdue is set to become the state’s longest-tenured chief financial officer, following his Monday inauguration. At the conclusion of this four-year term, Perdue will earn recognition as West Virginia’s longest-serving state treasurer, with 20 consecutive years in office.
Perdue was sworn in for a fifth consecutive term Monday, January 14 during a ceremony at the State Capitol. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Benjamin administered the oath of office.
The Treasurer was first elected to office in November of 1996.
“I am very honored and humbled that the voters of West Virginia have once again entrusted me with the state’s finances,” Treasurer Perdue said. “I have always strived to bring the Treasurer’s Office up to current technological and professional standards. That goal will never change.”
Under Perdue’s tenure, the Treasurer’s Office has made great strides in, among other areas, unclaimed property, college savings programs, receipts processing and a successful 457 supplemental retirement program.
“It’s been a good 16 years,” Treasurer Perdue said, “but we don’t rest on our laurels.”
Upon term completion, Treasurer Perdue should own both the consecutive and overall years-served title over Richard E. Talbott (D-Barbour). Talbott occupied the office for 18 years, from 1932 to 1950. Only five state treasurers have served tenures that stretch into the double digits.
Right behind Talbott is W.S. Johnson, a Republican from Fayette County whose tenure stretched from 1916 to 1932.
Two other treasurers are in the 10 years and above category. One is Larrie Bailey (D-Marion), who enjoyed two stints in office. Bailey served from 1976 to 1984 and from 1990 to 1996. Bailey began filling the unexpired term of A. James Manchin in 1990 and voters elected him to office outright in 1992.
Treasurer Perdue’s office accomplishments include:
· Return of $115 million in unclaimed property to state residents. West Virginia is a national leader in unclaimed property rate of return. It maintains a website database; uses newspaper inserts to publish owners’ names; and conducts online auctions of safe deposit box items.
· Establishment of the SMART529 college savings program. SMART529 has grown to a $1.6 billion program, with approximately 120,000 active accounts nationwide. The website www.savingforcollege.com ranks its three plans an average of 4.5 out of 5.
· Service as past president of the National Association of State Treasurers and the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. Treasurer Perdue was also given NAUPA’s lifetime achievement award.
· Acquiring legislative approval and transfer of the state’s 457 deferred compensation plan, now known as West Virginia Retirement Plus. That plan now has 13,190 enrollees, an increase of more than 10,000 since Treasurer Perdue took control. Its assets have increased by 91 percent, to $130 million.