Scapegoat or conspirator? (October 7, 2016)

Alex Varga makes some excellent points about getting rid of the existing Town Council as part of cleaning up the rot that festers in Town Hall, but I think he lets finance director Marc Puckett off the hook too easy (Puckett a scapegoat, Daily Press, October 7, 2016).

The position that he is just following orders would be bad enough to condemn Puckett (along with the council members, of course), but it is hardly the whole picture. Puckett’s track record in Eastpointe, Flint, and Costa Mesa, is littered with problems. If he’s not the one initiating these problems, then he’s being hired because he has a reputation for being compliant and complacent, neither of which is good in a public servant, and disastrous in a finance director. The numerous errors in his financial reports definitely should have been caught by council members, but they almost certainly did not originate with the council.

Another part of the picture is the fact that residents of Apple Valley coughed up a staggering $314,109 to have Puckett on the payroll in 2015 . For that kind of money, we should have someone with backbone, who produces spotless reports and whose work product is beyond reproach.

Then there is the lack of independent auditing. Plenty of the blame for this falls on the council, but a true accounting professional serving his community would not stand for it … unless he suspected his work would not withstand scrutiny.

Last but not least, there are the accounting awards Puckett and the Town trot out, knowing full well that Flint, MI, and Bell, CA, received similar ones. Not surprisingly, these awards failed to protect the citizenry.

Puckett performance may be a symptom of deeper problems, but he himself is also part of those problems.

Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.

Published: Daily Press, October 21, 2016