REPORT: Documents link top Apple Valley official to #FlintWaterCrisis

The Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability has released a report about a key player at Apple Valley Town Hall that casts a shadow on planned Town actions and raises questions of credibility for the Town government.

Flint Journal articles published between 1999 and 2000 showed that Apple Valley Assistant Town Manager for Finance Marc Puckett resigned from his position as Director of Finance for the City of Flint, MI, after it was shown that he had failed to transfer money to the city’s pension fund for two years, costing Flint taxpayers $1.1 million dollars. A subsequent independent audit of Puckett’s Finance Department showed widespread mismanagement and a lack of transparency which ultimately cost taxpayers.

Puckett’s behavior in Flint shows a frightening pattern that is evident today in how he handles Apple Valley residents’ tax dollars. He demonstrates an utter lack of transparency, and crafts budgets that we have routinely called a ‘shell game’ for the way they obscure spending, said Diana J. Carloni, an Apple Valley resident and local attorney.

Puckett’s actions in Flint in the 1990’s, which were covered up for years, have a direct link to the #FlintWaterCrisis. Puckett’s previous employer, Flint Mayor Woodrow Stanley, was recalled two years after Puckett’s resignation, largely because of the financial mess his administration had left the City in. Soon after Stanley’s recall, the Michigan State Government appointed an Emergency Manager for Flint, which ultimately led to a switch to the Flint River as a water source, lead-filled pipes, and ultimately the #FlintWaterCrisis.

It was actually under Puckett’s tenure as Finance Director that Flint water bills from its city-owned water utility soared, with some residents experiencing a ten-fold increase. A quote from Flint resident Colette Timlick stated that the city has a monopoly. You can’t go anywhere else. You’re stuck, and that’s what angers people.

Puckett went on to serve as Finance Director of the City of Costa Mesa for ten years, before being put on leave, and mysteriously resigning soon after.

With this new information, we demand answers, stated Katie Manning, a member of the watchdog group’s leadership committee. Did the Town Council know of his history, and how can we trust what Puckett is putting out there if he has been so elusive about his past history.

This investigation by the Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability has led to some serious questions involving the financial health of the Town of Apple Valley, including:

  • Did the Town Council know about Puckett’s Flint, MI past when he was hired in 2010?
  • Why was Marc Puckett put on leave in Costa Mesa before his resignation in 2009?
  • Why was Marc Puckett dismissed from his position in Eastpointe, MI, prior to working for Flint?
  • Is Marc Puckett’s Finance Department making correct pension transfers to its retirement fund?
  • Is Marc Puckett’s Finance Department paying the appropriate amount of taxes?
  • Will Marc Puckett under-invest in the Town’s water system, as he did in Flint, if a takeover is successful?
  • With Puckett’s approach to finance—which this group has often called a shell game—how do we know that the numbers that Puckett is presenting are reliable?

Lastly …

… will Apple Valley become the next Flint, Michigan?