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Court order adds another 'layer of work' for Genesee County health department

Photo of Gov. Rick Snyder
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
"The number one priority for the department should be public health and it is unacceptable that a local court has tied the hands of state employees trying to do the right thing for the people they were hired to serve and protect," says Gov. Rick Snyder.

Genesee County health officials insist a court order restricting communication with state health officials is not preventing them from investigating cases of Legionnaires Disease.

The court order is related to the Attorney General’s investigation of the Flint water crisis. 

The Snyder administration is challenging the order.

In a press release from Snyder’s office, the governor’s office claims the court order is obstructing the department from performing its legal duty in protecting people from Legionnaires Disease.    

Snyder is quoted in the release as saying, "this needs to be sorted out in the courts.”

The Attorney General’s office defended the order by saying the governor’s claims are “simply untrue.”

Genesee County health department director Mark Valacak says the court order adds another layer of work.

“We’re able to function under the current court order,” says Valacak. “Of course, we would appreciate anything that would simplify the process.”

Valacak says the county health department is working directly with the Centers for Disease Control investigating a half dozen confirmed Legionnaires Disease cases and another six possible cases of the illness.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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