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Politics & Government

Charges against DHHS director over Flint may seriously inhibit state government decision making

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A lawsuit over Flint mismanagement may have a chilling effect on state officials, says one Republican insider.

There’s long been the sense that someone should pay for the Flint water debacle — that someone should be held responsible for the decisions that lead to tap water being contaminated by lead and people dying because of a spike in Legionnaires’ disease thought to be connected to the water. 

State Attorney General Bill Schuette has responded by filing criminal charges against several members of Governor Rick Snyder’s administration.

Yesterday, the court proceedings began with an “involuntary manslaughter” charge against Nick Lyon,  Director of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“The Attorney General’s approach is very much out of line” with past practices, said Richard McLellan, a Republican insider.

The problem with the approach, says McLellan, is that state employees have become very cautious and risk-averse.

“That has a big impact on the rest of us, who rely on public servants to make judgment calls and make decisions,” he said.

McLellan also argues that the lawsuit misunderstands who is ultimately responsible for the situation in Flint. He says the crisis was “imputed to Nick Lyon, who is not even a doctor or an epidemiologist. He’s an administrator.”

Listen above for the entire conversation with Republican insider Richard McLellan.

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