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State skipped bidding process, overpaid for Flint’s emergency water supplies

Bottles of water
Flickr user Daniel Orth
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State Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich has called for an investigation into the state's purchase of water supplies for Flint.

When the Flint water disaster exploded, the state began sending emergency supplies to the city: millions and millions of dollars worth of bottled water, filters and cartridges.

Detroit Free Press reporter Paul Egan's front-page story this week suggests the state overpaid for those supplies, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. Egan found that instead of using a formal bidding process, the State went directly to Georgia-based Home Depot to buy the supplies. And it failed to seriously seek bids from  Michigan companies.

In response to Egan’s report, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich of Flint called for an investigation into how the state bought those water supplies.

“Every dollar wasted could have been used on providing services to families in Flint that were affected by this,” Senator Ananich said.  “We should always be trying to use taxpayers’ money wisely.”

The state’s reliance on Home Depot as its exclusive supplier has also raised questions. According to the Free Press report, the company has ties to one of Gov. Snyder's top aides. That connection deserves further scrutiny, Senator Ananich told us.

“Clearly, the story in the Free Press shows it was at the very least careless--and potentially, it was steered toward a friend of someone in the Governors’ office," Ananich said. "Those allegations should be taken seriously and looked into.”

Listen to the full interview above.

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