Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday blamed "career bureaucrats" for the Flint crisis and said his staff lied to him about the city's lead-tainted water, the Detroit News reports. Snyder says he got a briefing on Sept. 27 telling him "outside experts" were wrong and that Flint's water was safe, reports the Detroit Free Press. He says during a conference call the next day he learned the city's drinking water was so contaminated with lead that it risked permanent brain damage in children. (Snyder had previously claimed he learned about the crisis Oct. 1, NBC News reports.) "Talk about being upset, I was upset," the Free Press quotes Snyder as saying.
The problems in Flint started when the city switched to the Flint River for its water as a money-saving move. Snyder says the blame lies with state employees who showed "an absolute lack of common sense" and decided not to pay $150 per day to add chemicals to the water to protect aging pipes. Still, he says he's taken responsibility for the crisis. And—despite widespread calls for him to step down—Snyder says he won't resign. In the past six months, Snyder, who still classifies his governorship as a success, has gone from a possible presidential candidate to a spot on Fortune's list of most disappointing leaders. "It’s a humbling experience," the News quotes Snyder as saying. "It’s been a very difficult time period. But what I keep in mind is there are people suffering in Flint, and I want to do something about it." Flint's tap water is still considered unsafe to drink. (Read more Flint water crisis stories.)