I first met Fred Leeb about eight years ago when he was giving his acceptance speech for winning the Turnaround of the Year Award from the Turnaround Management Association. Since then, I have worked together with him on two difficult, but very successful, engagements. The second engagement was when Fred hired me to be the Finance Director for the City of Pontiac (when he was the City’s first Emergency Financial Manager). This was actually my start in working in municipal government. I always found Fred to be transparent, analytical and straightforward in trying to achieve the very best possible for the City. He recognized from the beginning that the goal had to be an overall turnaround, not just get the financials balanced in the short run. Fred worked cooperatively with people having many different points of view to generate new ideas and build consensus. And then he wasn’t afraid, despite tremendous controversy and roadblocks, to implement needed changes. He could take the heat (sometimes even threats), which was often necessary, to be the catalyst for positive change. He also certainly has a strong analytical and financial focus. My goal was to work with him to ensure that we would develop solutions that were both practical and would provide major financial benefits. We worked together to strengthen financial reporting, develop and utilize key operating statistics and report fully and accurately to our constituents. As a result, our financial audits always went very smoothly. Fred was extremely honest, forthright, and completely open in all his work both with the city and the state. In addition, he was able to bring out great ideas from the city’s staff. An example of this was setting on course the sale of Pontiac’s excess water treatment capacity to Oakland County for over $50 million. I would recommend Fred Leeb without hesitation for helping all types of organizations grow and be healthy again, whether they are corporations, nonprofits or government entities.
John Naglick, CPA, CFF
Chief Deputy CFO / Finance Director
City of Detroit
I have known Fred Leeb for over six years. He hired me to direct special projects for the City of Pontiac after he was appointed by the Governor to be Pontiac’s first of three Emergency Financial Managers. In that role, I saw first-hand how Fred led the charge to take many difficult actions to turn around Pontiac in a very tough environment. We succeeded in many areas and very quickly generated $4.4 million in surplus over two years, reversing a chronic deficit, and raised the City’s bond rating. Fred also negotiated successfully with six city unions (having over 400 employees) to reduce cost and begin restructuring the organization. Fred and I have kept in touch. He continues to demonstrate a very strong work ethic and is honest, thoughtful and solution focused. During his time at Pontiac, he demonstrated remarkable tough-mindedness. I would not hesitate to work with Fred again to take on a complex project or pursue a new venture.
Principal – Winnsboro Forest Companies