Marc Puckett Is Gone - Why?
It was with great pain that I read in the Daily Pilot online edition, HERE, today that City of Costa Mesa Finance Director and City Treasurer, Marc Puckett, is on leave from the city for, as the Pilot article says, "an undisclosed reason."
NO FINANCIAL MALFEASANCE INVOLVED
The article by Alan Blank goes on to quote City Manager Allan Roeder indicating that Puckett's absence has "nothing to do with financial malfeasance." I know Mr. Roeder to be a man of integrity and honor, so I take him at his word.
HELD IN HIGH REGARD FOR A DECADE
Puckett has been with the city ten years, coming to Costa Mesa from Flint, Michigan, where he was Director of Finance. He has been held in high regard not only by members of our city and staff, but by the wider financial community, too. In the wake of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy he formed the Lehman Brothers Working Group, which now includes 1500 agencies from 21 states.
HE RESIGNED FROM CMTA THIS MONTH
Because city officials are playing this subject very, very close to their vests, we have no idea why he left, how long Puckett will be absent, nor if he will return to his job at all. I do know that he wrote a letter on August 18, 2009 to the President of the California Municipal Treasurers Association - a group in which he was a member of the Executive Board and the President-Elect - resigning his position on that board. That act alone would lead one to believe that Puckett may never return to his job in Costa Mesa.
PUCKETT ALWAYS A PRO
Over the past few years I've had frequent contacts with Marc Puckett, usually during the budget planning process. I always found him to be a very responsive and intelligent public servant. He clearly knew municipal finance inside and out and was eager to impart knowledge to those who asked.
THE QUESTION IS - WHY?
Because this is a "personnel matter" the city is apparently obligated to keep the reason for his absence quiet so it leaves us all to engage in what I refer to as "speculosis" - the affliction of speculating on the reasons for an event or situation. I sincerely hope that Puckett's absence will not adversely affect the city's ability to go forward with the very difficult budget planning issues that are ahead.
GOOD LUCK TO ALL, INCLUDING PUCKETT
In the meantime, I wish the city finance staff and the senior management well as they try to sort out whatever the issues are. And, I wish Marc Puckett well, too. Until we know more, he deserves that...