Michigan Senator: Emergency Manager Law partially at fault for Flint water crisis

Flint Water Plant
Flint Water Plant(WNEM)
Updated: Dec. 8, 2021 at 1:42 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - Legislation is being proposed to repeal the state’s Emergency Manager Law which takes control away from local governments in a state knows the best approach.

State Senator Jim Ananich said the law is partly to blame for the Flint water crisis. An emergency manager appointed by former Gov. Rick Snyder switched the city’s water supply to Flint River.

“It’s the strictest emergency manager law in the country,” Ananich said.

The Senate Minority Leader is trying to do away with Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law.

“Most state has some form of emergency manager if a city or a county or school district gets in financial trouble. The problem is in 2012, the current emergency law was put into place,” Ananich said.

He says the 2012 version of the emergency manager law, that’s still in place today, is partially to blame for the Flint water crisis.

“The emergency manager made the decision to switch over from Detroit water or lake water to the city of Flint water and caused all the problems that we’re now dealing with,” Ananich said.

Flint had four emergency managers from 2002 to 2018. Two are facing criminal charges for their role in the water crisis.

“Contracts were thrown out, decisions that were made that were just awful and without expertise, they ignored the constant and loud cries of the community. They knew about it and they continued to ignore it. So, it’s not the entire problem, but it’s a big part of the problem,” Ananich said.

Ananich is introducing Senate Bill 779, to repeal the emergency manager, and 780, a fiscal health plan as the alternative.

“If a community is coming into problems, it gives assistance along the way to make sure it doesn’t get into a situation where it needs emergency help,” Ananich said.

He said it could prevent ill-advised leadership decisions from reoccurring.

“Having one individual with no accountability, not from the community, I think we saw the devastating results there. We can’t go back and undo that decision but going forward we can make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Ananich said.