What Are We Doing?
Opposing the hostile takeover of Liberty Apple Valley
By Ron Fonger, JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
Finance Director Marc Puckett, under fire for failing to make routine pension transfers since 1997, has given his resignation notice to Flint Mayor Woodrow Stanley.
Puckett, the city’s finance director since 1992, said this morning he has not been asked to leave his position and is considering a job offer he received in December.
Puckett said he would address the City Council in a committee meeting today and called the pension controversy
contrived because someone is running for mayor.
On Monday, in a letter to 6th Ward City Councilman Mark Horrigan, Puckett stressed that
all monies in question … have always been on deposit in the retirement fund.
But Puckett said deposits — made up of employer and employee contributions — have not been transferred as they should have been for more than two years. The money was supposed to have been transferred from a cash fund into a money market retirement system account.
The fact that the transfers were not made was noted after Flint’s 1997 financial audit and again during the 1998 audit, which is not yet complete.
Unfortunately, I failed to follow up to ensure that these work assignments were completed, and for that I accept full responsibility, Puckett said in his letter to Horrigan, the council’s Finance Committee chairman.
City Administrator David H. Ready confirmed the resignation and said Budget Director Matthew Grady will take over Puckett’s supervisory responsibilities on an interim basis. Grady has a reputation in City Hall for trustworthiness, and he has shown an ability to work with members of the City Council.
That same ability with a diverse council didn’t always come easily to Puckett, who clashed routinely with former members such as Jack D. Minore and John Northrup.
On Tuesday, Council President Scott Kincaid declined comment on the resignation.
Ready said Puckett has accepted a governmental position elsewhere and deserves credit for his financial work here, particularly in Stanley’s first term. The director has been credited with helping to make up a multimillion-dollar deficit by charging various accounts for things the general fund had paid for previously.
Marc has decided to pursue other opportunities, Ready said.
Stanley named Puckett finance director in 1992, after Puckett was dismissed from his position in Eastpointe, a Macomb County city where the finance director serves at the pleasure of the council rather than the mayor.
He was selected from about 100 applicants for the job, but had recently caused headaches and bad publicity for the administration because of his department’s failure to make the pension transfers.
Already, members of the city Retirement Board have renewed serious discussions about appointing an independent administrator — someone other than the city finance director — to oversee the $800-million pension system.
A native of Genesee County, Puckett grew up in Flint and Grand Blanc. He received a bachelor’s degree from Ferris State University and had previously worked for the cities of Albion and Pleasant Ridge.
Ron Fonger covers Flint city government and Bishop Airport. He can be reached at (810) 766-6317.
Copyright Flint Journal / MLive Media Group (mlive.com). Used with permission.