Michigan to pay Liane Shekter Smith $ 300,000 after Flint water scandal fired


The state agreed to pay the former director of the state’s drinking water division for using him as a “public scapegoat” for the Flint water crisis.

The State of Michigan has agreed to pay $ 300,000 to the one employee who was laid off as a result of the lead water crisis in Flint.

The settlement agreement with Liane Shekter Smith came after an arbitrator has found that she was wrongly fired in 2016 by officials who used her as a “public scapegoat” during the height of the water crisis.

Smith was the head of the state’s drinking water division during the outcome of the Flint water crisis from 2014 to 2016.

Nicknamed one of the worst environmental disasters In U.S. history, officials in the town of Flint have changed the source of water supply without using proper safety protocols, resulting in contamination with lead and other harmful chemicals in the water.

Neglect has exposed nearly 100,000 residents to unsafe water and caused 12 deaths in the region. More than half of Flint’s residents are black.

Smith was fired by the director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Keith creagh, and was subsequently charged with misconduct in the performance of his duties and negligence in his duties.

“The department has decided to accept the settlement amount of $ 300,000, which resolves the dispute and allows both the agency and Ms. Shekter Smith to move forward,” the spokesperson said. word of the Ministry of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, Hugh McDiarmid Jr.

The state had until this week to appeal the order, but instead agreed to settle with Smith to close the case.


The city decided to make a decision to save money by switching the water supply to the Flint River in 2014. The highly corrosive water was not properly treated before flowing into aging pipes which eventually released lead into the water. The water was then distributed to the inhabitants of the city.

Despite complaints about the smell, taste and appearance of the water, city officials were slow to act until some scientific studies found the water contained deadly levels of lead and other bacteria. .

In January 2016, the then governor of Michigan Rick snyder declared a state of emergency in Genesee County, followed by the former president Barack obamathe declaration of a federal state of emergency for the county.

The city turned its water source over to the Detroit water system in 2015, but residents didn’t get drinking water until February 2019.

Flint water crisis - theGrio.com

XyNazia Skinner, 7, of Flint, Mich., Stands with a sign as she waits to participate in a mile-long national walk to highlight the pressure for clean water in Flint February 19, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. The march was organized in part by Reverend Jesse Jackson. (Photo by Bill Pugliano / Getty Images)

City officials have come under heavy criticism for ignoring residents’ cries about the quality of the water.

Many have linked the disaster to environmental racism due to Flint’s large black population and pointed out the lack of government protection.

“It was a community water supply system that was clearly in trouble,” Smith told the arbitrator of the time of crisis. “I keep an eye on being kept informed, keeping my management informed, but there was a lot more going on in the office at the time. “

Smith was fired due to her “lack of leadership” and Creagh was appointed to take over the department.

The referee, Sheldon stark, found a “plausible conclusion that political considerations were at play” in Smith’s dismissal because others with more direct roles in Flint had not been dismissed.

As part of the settlement, Smith has agreed not to seek his job and his involuntary resignation will be changed to a voluntary resignation.

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