6 State Workers in Michigan Charged in Flint Water Crisis

Misconduct in office, willful neglect of duty among the charges
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2016 11:37 AM CDT
6 State Workers in Michigan Charged in Flint Water Crisis
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette addresses the media on April 20, 2016, in Flint, Mich.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

A half-dozen state employees in Michigan are officially in hot water in the ongoing investigation in Flint, Michigan, with the state's attorney general filing charges for their part in the tainted water crisis there, the Detroit News reports. According to testimony in Flint district court Friday morning, three workers in the state's health department—Nancy Peeler, Robert Scott, Corinne Miller—and three in the environmental office—water regulators Patrick Cook and Adam Rosenthal and ex-municipal water chief Liane Shekter-Smith—were hit with charges filed by AG Bill Schuette, per the Detroit Free Press. MLive.com reports that all six were charged with misconduct in office, with willful neglect of duty and various conspiracy charges also being assigned. Schuette filed criminal charges in April against two other state employees and a city water utility official.

In the Department of Health and Human Services, alleged transgressions include reliance on shoddy data and hiding or ignoring bloodstream test results that indicated the significant presence of lead. Within the Department of Environmental Quality, accusations include workers manipulating water monitoring reports, purposely "misinterpreting" federal drinking-water standards, and trying to mislead the EPA, as well as suggesting ways to keep an EPA expert quiet about concerns. Shekter-Smith, meanwhile, is said to have turned a blind eye as evidence of water contamination became clearer. Meanwhile, per the Wall Street Journal, federal experts say filtered Flint tap water is safe to drink, but Mayor Karen Weaver noted Wednesday at the Democratic convention that the city's crisis is far from over. "Our infrastructure is broken, leaking, and rusting away," she said, per CNN. (More Flint, Michigan stories.)

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