News - December 14, 2011

Treasurer Lee Buffington dies at 81

Lee Buffington, San Mateo County long-time treasurer and tax collector and a resident of Menlo Park, died Wednesday, Dec. 7, according to Sandie Arnott, who succeeded him in that office. He was 81.

Mr. Buffington headed the treasurer's office for nearly 25 years. In 2009, he decided not to seek a seventh term. At the time of his retirement in January 2011, the office had 60 employees.

Despite the 2008 fiasco that saw a loss of $155 million in investments with Lehman Brothers, Mr. Buffington said he's enjoyed the challenges of the job, which includes collecting property taxes, managing the county investment pool, and acting as a bank for the county's 26 school districts.

"Lehman was a great big disappointment for us, but we weren't the only ones (who lost money)," he told The Almanac.

Mr. Buffington said he had no inkling that he'd remain in the job such a long time.

"The only reason I took the job initially was that I needed health insurance. My wife was terminally ill," he said. "I thought I'd get that and get out, but then I stuck around for a while."

During his quarter-century tenure, the treasurer's office evolved from a completely manual operation to the most automated in the state, Mr. Buffington said.

"It's the variety that keeps you going. There are different kinds of problems every day," he said in an Almanac interview. "It's never boring, I'll tell you that."

At his request, there will be no services.


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields