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Some former Flint water crisis defendants prepare to return to their state jobs

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Some of the state workers indicted as part of the Flint water crisis investigationmay soon return to work.

Last week, state prosecutors dismissed charges against eight current and former government officials as they begin to reassess the investigation.

Now, the state health and environment agencies are making plans to bring back the employees who’ve been on suspension.

State Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin says Nancy Peeler and Robert Scott “have been notified of their option to return to work as soon as Monday.” Peeler and Scott had been accused of covering up data concerning blood lead levels in Flint children during the city’s water crisis.

Sutfin says Peeler and Scott “will return to the same positions” they held prior to their suspension.

Another former defendant, Dr. Eden Wells, is no longer the state’s Chief Medical Executive. But she remains in the state health department serving as an advising physician to the Population Health Administration.

A trio of state environmental regulators may also be headed back to work soon.

Patrick Cook, Michael Prysby and Stephen Busch had faced multiple charges, including misconduct in office, related to their work the Department of Environmental Quality during the Flint water crisis. 

Prysby and Busch cut plea deals with prosecutors. 

Scott Dean is a spokesman for the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, formerly known as the Department of Environmental Quality.

Dean says, “Efforts are underway to coordinate dates for them to return to work.” 

Reinstatement may only be temporary for some of the state workers. Prosecutors have said they may file new charges against them or other individuals in the future.

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.