Decision For Flint River Water Made
DECISION FOR FLINT RIVER WATER MADE BY MAYOR WALLING AND CITY COUNCIL: DARNELL EARLY
By Charles H. Winfrey
After the decision to switch to the Flint River as the city’s water source exploded in his face, Mayor Walling has been trying desperately to wiggle himself out of responsibility for making that decision. He has blamed Governor Snyder and Flint’s emergency managers for making that decision. To our dismay, local media has repeatedly adopted Walling’s narrative so that the real truth has never been disclosed. However, former Emergency Manager, Darnell Early has released a statement setting the record straight. He states in no uncertain terms it was the Mayor and City Council that initiated and approved the conversion to the Flint River.
“The decision to separate from Detroit Water and Sewerage and go with the KWA (Karegnondi Water Authority), which included the decision to pump Flint River water in the interim, were both a part of a long-term plan that was approved by Flint’s Mayor, and confirmed on a City Council vote of 7 – 1 on March 13, 2013,” Early states. “This plan was presented to me when I was appointed as Flint Emergency Manager in October 2013 – a full seven months after city council’s affirmative vote.”
Early states the approval of the Mayor and City Council was a condition established by Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright in order for the City of Flint to participate in the KWA. In a press release issued by Wright on March 26, 2013, he applauded Flint’s elected official’s decision. “…I have said from the beginning that this decision must be made by Flint’s City Council and Mayor,” Wright said. “I am glad that the residents of Flint were able to have their voices heard via their elected officials.”
Early went on to emphatically reiterate that the Mayor and City Council had complete free will in their decision to make the switch. “The Mayor’s approval of the plan, and the near unanimous vote by City Council were in no way coerced, forced or demanded by the State, nor any Emergency Manager,” he stated. In regards to former Emergency Manager Ed Kurtz, Early said his only involvement was to sign the Mayor’s and City Council’s approval into an Executive Order to begin upgrading the Flint River Water Plant to ready it to treat water from the Flint River.
Since it has been proven that water from the highly corrosive Flint River has resulted in high levels of lead in tap water throughout the city, and since children and vulnerable adults have been ingesting lead into their systems for over 17 months, causing irreparable harm to an immeasurable number of our people, Mayor Walling has been frantically trying to separate himself from that horrendous decision. However, Early’s statement points the finger directly at Mayor Walling and the City Council.
In fact Mayor Walling spoke of the conversion during his 2014 State of the City address. On March 3, 2014, Walling stated: “In recent months and due to the eventual increase in use of our Flint water treatment plant, upgrades have been made to meet the standards of continuous operation. Instead of paying a bill to Detroit, we are investing in Flint’s infrastructure and capacity in an efficient manner.” Then Councilman Bryant Nolden echoed Walling’s sentiments: “I’m just happy we are going to be using the Flint River for the next couple of years.” Two months later, Mayor Walling pushed the button, and the lead poisoning began.