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City treasurer’s death ruled suicide

CARLSBAD — Co-workers and friends of Carlsbad City Treasurer Harold “Mac” McSherry, who committed suicide July 14, said the veteran tax attorney was dedicated to the city and his family, but struggled recently with debilitating headaches that may have been linked to a brain tumor.
“He was just a great guy, just really a strong believer in his family and children,” Councilman Matt Hall said.
Hall said he had known McSherry for more than two decades and considered himself a close friend, adding that the two men would go out to breakfast three to five times a week. “He could take the most complicated set of numbers or situation and tell the story so simplistic it was just unbelievable,” Hall said.
The councilman described McSherry as a fighter, citing his battle with melanoma about 10 years ago, which he was able to overcome. Throughout the last year, Hall said McSherry started developing blinding headaches that caused him to miss their breakfast meet ups.
“I don’t think we recognized that he was probably hurting a lot more than what he was telling anybody,” Hall said.
Police found McSherry’s body in his business office on State Street in Carlsbad after the city treasurer’s son asked authorities to perform a welfare check on his father. The medical examiner’s office ruled the death a suicide, saying the 59-year-old died of asphyxia by putting a plastic bag over his head.
McSherry was appointed as the city’s treasurer by the City Council after City Treasurer Jim Stanton retired in July 2006. Several months later he was elected to a four-year term, which was up in November.
“Mac approached his role as city treasurer very professionally, always working to make sure city funds were safe and earning the highest rate of return for our taxpayers,” said Mayor Claude A. “Bud” Lewis in a statement. “He was a man with a tremendous intellect and immense curiosity about the world and was also very generous with his time giving back to our community. He will be greatly missed by his entire city of Carlsbad family.”
In the next 60 days, City Council will have to decide whether they are going to appoint a new city treasurer or hold a special election.