Former finance director lashes back at critics, hints suit (February 10, 1999)
By Ron Fonger, JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
The city’s former finance director, under fire for a delay in transferring money to a Flint pension fund, responded sharply to critics Tuesday, threatening to take legal action over some of their accusations against him.
Marc Puckett, who resigned Friday, said the controversy amounts to nothing more than an
election-year attempt to try to get the mayor (Woodrow Stanley).
In a telephone interview with The Flint Journal, Puckett said no harm has been done to the city because of the delay in transferring millions of dollars between pension funds. He also denied any insinuations that the delay was intentional, and said he has hired an attorney to represent him in the matter.
People ran off with a shard of information and turned it into something different, Puckett said.
… I’ve been libeled, I’ve been slandered and I’m not going to put up with that.
Puckett’s comments came after some Flint Retirement Board members said Tuesday they don’t believe what they’ve heard from Puckett about the matter. The board also agreed to start its own investigation into the city’s failure to make timely transfers.
Fifth Ward City Councilman Barry Williams, who generally has supported Mayor Woodrow Stanley’s agenda, said Puckett was misleading in discussing the pension problems before leaving his job.
The person wasn’t telling us the truth, said Williams, an alternate City Council representative on the Retirement Board.
There’s no sense in uttering (again) what he’s said.
In response to the allegations, Puckett said some of the board members did not understand the financial issues involved.
Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with board members,… a lot of these people are without any financial backgrounds, he said.
City Administrator David H. Ready answered board questions about the pension problem with extreme caution, noting with each answer that information he’s relied upon came from Puckett and had not been verified independently.
A preliminary review by the Michigan Department of Treasury has concluded that while the city made employee and employer contributions to the pension system for two years, it failed to make transfers to the proper account within the retirement fund.
The state’s investigation is continuing, said Penny Griffin, a spokeswoman for the department. ‘
On Tuesday, Ready appointed Hugh Rose, vice chairman of the Retirement Board, to head a four-person committee and charged the group with reviewing transfer failures.
If you say something else needs to be done, that’s what we’ll do, Ready said.
Whatever it takes to resolve this, it will be done.
Flint’s Retirement Board oversees an $860-million pension system.
Puckett, finance director since 1992, originally told the Retirement Board that about $9 million had not been transferred to the proper pension account, Ready said. But Flint Treasurer Jim Goodwin said the total was up to $21 million at one point.
In a three-page letter to 6th Ward City Councilman Mark Horrigan, Puckett stressed that
all monies in question … have always been on deposit in the retirement fund.
On Tuesday, he said the money had simply not been transferred from one retirement fund to another.
Puckett had blamed an internal auditor in his department for failing to make the proper transfer and himself for failing to catch the error.
In a letter to Ready Friday, Guy F. Baumgart, grievance committee chairman for AFSCME Local 1600, said he was
appalled to hear where blame was being laid for this incident.
Baumgart’s letter said the employee blamed for failing to make the transfer
was never trained in this area because they are not authorized to do transfers to the pension fund.
Yes, our members are not perfect, and yes, we all make mistakes, the letter continued,
but when something like this occurs, and our members get the blame for things way beyond their control, it is time for someone to step up to the plate and say, ‘The buck stops here.’
But Puckett continued to say Tuesday that the problem arose because of a failure by a department employee.
This was not a problem I created. I brought it up, I explained what occurred, he said.
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.
Files dealing with Marc Puckett
- 19920114 Minutes of a special meeting of the city council for the City of East Detroit, Macomb County, Michigan
- 19920225 Minutes of a special meeting of the city council for the City of East Detroit, Macomb County, Michigan
- 19920303 Minutes of a special meeting of the city council for the City of East Detroit, Macomb County, Michigan
- 19920305 Minutes of a special meeting of the city council for the City of East Detroit, Macomb County, Michigan
- 19920319 Minutes of a special meeting of the city council for the City of East Detroit, Macomb County, Michigan
- 19920623 Minutes of a special meeting of the city council for the City of East Detroit, Macomb County, Michigan
- 19960111 Retirement firm accuses official of favoritism
- 19960403 Folks soaked by water bills may get relief
- 19960920 Marc Puckett’s red light ticket
- 19990130 $9-million pension fund transfer raises questions
- 19990202 Retirement panel urges ‘immediate’ audit of plan
- 19990203 Retirement board splits over need for independent manager
- 19990203 Finance director resigns under fire of pension flap
- 19990210 Former finance director lashes back at critics, hints suit
- 19990224 Flint to boost pension fund
- 19990319 Flint sent tax funds to wrong units
- 19990326 Ex-finance director cashes in on $6,000 in unused vacation time
- 19990330 Flint could owe state millions some industrial facilities taxes have not been paid since 1996
- 19990408 Stanley acts on money woes, appoints new finance chief
- 19990411 Stanley must share blame as part of his plan to fix city’s financial woes
- 19990909 Audit details shortfalls in financial procedures
- 20100219 Personal injury complaint against Marc Puckett
- 20100408 Answer of defendant, Marc R. Puckett, to plaintiffs’ complaint
- 20101227 New finance director to step down
- 20101228 Marc Puckett out — Again
- 20101230 Leadership turmoil
- 20110104 The world according to John Moorlach
- 20110110 City faces $231,000 deficit
- 20110113 Interim finance director named
- 20110210 Marc Puckett’s speeding ticket
- 201102405 Marc Puckett’s ticket for stopping on a red signal
- 20110817 Marc Puckett’s ticket for no license plate
- 20120309 Marc Puckett’s Orange County accident case information
- 20120425 Marc Puckett’s speeding ticket
- 20120703 Marc Puckett’s speeding ticket
- 20140724 Marc Puckett’s speeding ticket
- 20141124 Marc Puckett’s ticket for coasting out of gear
- 20141205 Marc Puckett’s ticket for speeding
- 20150529 Marc Puckett’s ticket for improper use of preferred lane
- Comments for tonight’s council meeting
- The innumerate Mr. Puckett
- Shill crazy after all these years
- Earth to Puckett!
- About those awards
- One PRR story: American Express (CC)
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- 20160913 Investigation: Flint / Apple Valley Connection
- 20160915 Economic Speech (Trump)
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- 20170319 Trump EPA grants Michigan $100 million to fix Flint water system
- 20170320 Sinkhole: Effort to replace pipes to Flint homes off to slow start
- 20170806 Vehicle belonging to AV town manager involved in hit-and-run
- He’s gonna need a good lawyer
- 20170809 Apple Valley official believes Liberty could have followed him before crash
- Public trust destroyed (Carloni)
- 20170907 Hit-and-run investigation involving Marc Puckett’s Cadillac sent to DA
- 20171010 Marc Puckett’s speeding ticket
- A question of character
- 20171206 Apple Valley Finance Director Marc Puckett charged with felony hit-and-run
- 20171206 A long wait for crash victim
- 20171117 A history of infractions
- 20171207 Apple Valley Finance Director Marc Puckett on personal leave after felony hit-and-run charge filed
- 20171214 Apple Valley Finance Director Marc Puckett pleads not guilty to felony hit-and-run charge
- 20171214 I-15 crash victim seeks $2M in damages from Apple Valley
- 20171219 Editorial: Passing the Puck (Valles)
- 20171228 Town Hall position not a factor in Puckett’s custody status, attorney says
- 20180105 Puckett forced out as Apple Valley’s Assistant Manager & Finance Director
- 20180109 Tin Cup Men (Valles)
- 20180116 Puckett’s dismissal just what the town needed (Valles)
- 20180307 Puckett deposition set for mid-April in town’s eminent domain case
- 20180425 Pre-plea report ordered in Puckett’s felony case