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Wed Oct 20, 2021, 06:53 PM

Arbitrator: Official wrongly fired in Flint water scandal [View all]

Source: AP

By ED WHITE

DETROIT (AP) — The only Michigan official fired in the Flint water catastrophe likely was a “public scapegoat” who lost her job because of politics, an arbitrator said in ordering $191,880 in back pay and other compensation.

It’s a remarkable victory for Liane Shekter Smith, who served as head of the state’s drinking water office when Flint’s water system was contaminated with lead. She was removed and then fired in 2016 and subsequently faced criminal charges in one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.

Shekter Smith was dismissed while engineers in her department — the “boots on the ground” in Flint — were suspended with pay before ultimately returning to work, the arbitrator said in a 22-page report obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

Sheldon Stark said the state had failed to offer enough evidence to justify the firing of Shekter Smith, who had an “exemplary” record in government.



FILE- In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo, defendant Liane Shekter Smith listens during a preliminary examination in the cases of four defendants, all former or current officials from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, in Flint, Mich. Shekter Smith, the only Michigan official fired in the Flint water disaster, was likely a “public scapegoat” who lost her job because of politics, an arbitrator said in ordering $191,880 in back pay and other compensation. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP, File)


Read more: https://apnews.com/article/environment-and-nature-michigan-flint-6273d7e81060d0c8fe9fb1f18949ddda

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