City chaos makes good copy (August 15, 2001)
By Andrew Heller
I returned from vacation to numerous questions that popped up while I was away about whether I was thrilled with the attempt to recall the mayor.
Let me answer collectively: Are you nuts? This guy is black gold, copy-wise. Texas tea. And I’m Jed Clampett. Sure, the city needs a change in leadership. Sure, Flint’s a mess and getting worse by the minute. And, sure, the Woodman simply hasn’t done the job. But recall him? Hello? Leaders like this don’t exactly grow on trees, people.
I’m being purely selfish, of course, but it would be just my rotten luck if the recall were to succeed. Woodrow suddenly would have to find some other way to print money without doing a whole lot. (I recommend columnizing.) And there I’d be without my ace in the hole, my fallback plan, my when-all-else-fails man.
For instance, when I return from vacation it’s difficult to write because it takes a few days to work up a healthy anger about anything. So what happened Sunday night as I read through the week of Journals I had missed?
Flint fire offenses to cost $151,200.
Oh, sweet mama, I love this man.
The fines, it turns out, are the biggest ever levied by the state against a fire department in Michigan and nearly twice as large as the previous record fine for safety violations. (So if we’re ever searching for something to put on welcome signs at the city limit. … )
According to my favorite newspaper, the state has conducted 1,053 inspections of fire departments since 1989, and in all that time it has found only eight
willful violations of Michigan OSHA standards. Wanna guess how many the Flint Fire Department had in this one inspection? Three. That’s huge. That’s like the Detroit Tigers beating someone 94-3. We rule!
And the funniest thing is that several of the violations were for — get this — not having functioning smoke detectors in several fire stations. No smoke detectors! That’s like a jail not having locks on the cells. Like a … well, it’s like a fire station … not having freaking smoke detectors!
In all, the state found 90 safety violations. As the City Council’s Scott Kincaid put it:
It’s absolutely ridiculous that the fire department has that much disregard for firefighters’ safety.
The problem, it seems, is that no one instituted the sort of routine safety and maintenance programs that just about every other business has had in place for years.
That would seem to bespeak a lack of quality leadership. And guess who appointed the fire chief under whose watch all this happened (or didn’t happen, as the case may be)?
That’s right. Your fearless leader, the Woodman.
It’s a bit early to blame the fire chief alone, but if the buck in his department stops with him, then what we have here is another example of the mayor’s inability to pick quality people for crucial jobs.
Let’s see, there was James Makokha, the former director of governmental policy who was convicted of bribery charges. Then there was Steven Waller, the former director of parks and recreation, who was convicted of attempted embezzling. And of course, who could forget Marc Puckett, the former finance director who resigned after costing the city a million dollars for screwing up pension funds?
Recall? You don’t recall a mayor who brought you all that AND leads the city into financial ruin AND acts as if he’s God’s gift to North America. Not from my perspective, anyway.
You give him a lifetime contract.
To contact Andrew Heller, call (810) 766-6116, fax (810) 767-2278 or e-mail [email protected]. For Heller columns online, visit fl.mlive.com/columns.
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)
- 20160913 Documents link top Apple Valley official to #FlintWaterCrisis
- 20160913 Investigation: Flint / Apple Valley Connection
- 20160915 Economic Speech (Trump)
- 20161018 Will Apple Valley become California’s Flint, MI?
- 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