Ex-Flint EM to resign from DPS, refuses to testify at Congressional hearing

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Ex-Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley

Former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley is resigning from his position as head of Detroit Public Schools after refusing to testify during a Congressional hearing about the Flint water crisis, the governor’s office confirmed this morning.

The news comes on the same day the FBI confirmed it was investigating officials’ role in the crisis, which led to the poisoning of thousands of Flint residents.

Earley has long denied playing a role in the decision to use the Flint River when he was the city’s emergency manager, but records obtained by Motor City Muckraker show Earley was lying.

On March 7, 2014, Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley wrote in an e-mail to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) that he was not interested in a short-term contract to avoid using the Flint River, despite serious concerns raised by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in 2012.

“There will be no need for Flint to continue purchasing water (from DWSD) to serve its residents and businesses after April 17, 2014,” Earley wrote to DWSD Director Sue McCormick.

But months later, after studies began to show dangerously elevated levels of lead from Flint River water, Earley and Gov. Rick Snyder both claimed the emergency manager was forced to use the river because DWSD insisted it would cut off the city without a long-term contract.

“The Detroit Water and Sewer Department at the time, back last spring, said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna cut you off,’” Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfell told the ACLU.

Gov. Snyder lied: Flint water switch was not about saving money, records show

Despite his involvement in the crisis, Earley was appointed by Snyder to serve as emergency manager over DPS.

Earley’s refusal to testify at Wednesday’s hearing before the U.S. House Oversight Committee raises red flags about his involvement in the crisis.

Records show that DWSD urgently tried to get Flint to sign a short-term contract to avoid the health dangers of the Flint River.

But state officials, including Earley, insisted on using the Flint River and signed off on the decision.

Snyder defended Earley’s role as emergency manager over DPS.

“Darnell has done a very good job under some very difficult circumstances. I want to thank him for his professionalism and his service to the people of Michigan,” Snyder said in a news release. “He restructured a heavily bureaucratic central office, set in place operating and cost-containment measures, and has taken steps to stabilize enrollment. These factors should all set the course for a sustainable, new Detroit Community Schools, as I have proposed.”

Snyder said he’ll appoint an interim emergency manager for DPS by the month’s end.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • ziggy75

    OMG – what planet does snyder live on? All the EMs involved with DPS have simply pushed debt down the line, all the while increasing it. They have taken DPS from solvent with a surplus to a flipping disaster with destroyed non-functional infrastructure along with unredeemable debt.

  • Cindy Merrill Reed

    Jeepers – who owned GM in 2011-2012? Oh Yes the Federal Government…. Wonder why the Federal Government failed to inform the EPA of the water problems….? More questionable activity from the current Administration.

    • David Becker

      Bigger question for government control, Why did the Federal Government not tell the Public about the ignition problems with GM cars. This was going on under their control. People just do not get it. Check the lead output in your home, send it to an independent agency get the results back, if positive, try suing the water commission or government. Let me know how that works out for you. There will be fall guys always have always will be. Remember Ollie North. How about Monica? Higher ups rarely get caught and do the time.

  • nolimitdetroiter

    That’s been described as a “shit eatin’ grin”…..I have to agree.
    Check out andy dillon, he’s in this up to his eyeballs.

  • Kevin O’connor

    As long as they investigate Everyone involved.There were Flint Council Members who were also on the Kiragonda Water Authority…follow the money.

  • Kevin O’connor

    As long as they investigate Everyone involved.There were Flint Council Members who were also on the Kiragonda Water Authority…follow the money.

  • Donald E. Hodge

    The FBI is looking into this……..I Love you Steve, this is Beautiful. you just made my Week!

  • churchchurchliquorstore1

    uh oh…

  • Beth Schindler

    Thank you for reporting on this story. So far, many folks have been fooled by the lies.