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Man described as 'fiscal pit bull' to quit Butler post

Bob Bauder
| Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 12:31 p.m.
Butler County Controller John R. McMillin, Jr. Wednesday, October 24, 2012.  
(Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review)
Butler County Controller John R. McMillin, Jr. Wednesday, October 24, 2012. (Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review)

Butler County Controller Jack McMillin said Monday he intends to retire when his fifth term ends in December.

McMillin, 60, whom a colleague described as a fiscal “pit bull, not a watchdog” in keeping an eye on county spending, said he has accomplished what he set out to do when he first ran in 1993.

“I don't want to wear my welcome out, and I mean that sincerely,” the Zelienople Republican said. “Politics is a strange business and I'd rather leave one election too early than one election too late.”

Commissioner James Eckstein, a Democrat, said he often sought the controller's advice during his first years in office. Eckstein said McMillin is an outspoken opponent about foolish spending and is passionate about controlling government costs.

“He does more than watch,” Eckstein said. “He uses his teeth sometimes. I'm very disappointed that he's leaving.”

McMillin said publicized acrimony among the three county commissioners did not influence his decision to leave office after 2013. He said he plans to spend more time with his two children, go fishing and do a lot of reading, especially classical poetry. He dabbles in writing Shakespearean sonnets.

He said he would consider running for higher office, perhaps county commissioner. McMillin said both Republican commissioners, William L. McCarrier and A. Dale Pinkerton, have said they won't run again.

“The hardest part is leaving my staff,” he said. “I'll take a year off and sift through things and maybe reconstitute myself. Who knows what's out there in store.”

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or

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