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4 More Michigan Officials Charged Over Flint Water Crisis


The state of Michigan announced more criminal charges today in connection with Flint's lead-tainted water. Four more officials now face felony charges. Speaking today, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said officials fixated on cost saving over people.


BILL SCHUETTE: This fixation came at the expense of protecting the health and safety of Flint.

SIEGEL: Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports.

STEVE CARMODY, BYLINE: In all, 13 current and former government employees have now been criminally charged in Flint's water crisis. Two of those charged today - Darnell Earley and Jerry Ambrose - were appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder as emergency managers whose job was to run city and eliminate its deficit. But Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says they broke the law when they cut a deal committing the bankrupt city to a multimillion-dollar bond deal to build a new water pipeline.


SCHUETTE: This is a higher level of responsibility. These are governor-appointed emergency managers that we're charging today with 20-year felonies, and it's serious.

CARMODY: Those charged are expected to appear in court before Christmas. Prosecutors say the investigation is continuing, and at least one top state official is still a target of the investigation.

Today's announcement puts a new spotlight on Michigan's reliance on emergency managers for troubled cities and school districts. Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says the charges reflect a broader problem with the state's emergency manager system.

KAREN WEAVER: Look at what's happened in the state of Michigan and in the urban cities that they've taken over and how it's taken the voice of the people and taken our democracy.

CARMODY: Since the crisis, the number of cities and school districts under the control of an emergency manager has dwindled, and there are now just two. Next month, the Detroit school district's emergency manager's tenure will end, but the district and 12 other Michigan school districts and cities including Flint remain under some form of state oversight which some people argue is only slightly better than the oversight that brought lead-tainted water to Flint's residents. For NPR News, I'm Steve Carmody in Flint. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.