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Flint water crisis figure reaches settlement with the State of Michigan

Liane Shekter Smith (file photo)
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Liane Shekter Smith (file photo)

The one state official who lost her job over the Flint water crisis has reached a settlement with the state of Michigan.

In a 22-page report last month, an arbitrator said Liane Shekter Smith was a ‘public scapegoat,’ adding the state failed to show cause to fire her in 2016. Other state officials were suspended with pay and later returned to work.

Shekter Smith was the head of the state's drinking water office when Flint's water system was contaminated with lead from 2014 thru 2015. Later she was among a group of state and local officials criminally charged in connection with the water crisis. Liane Shekter Smith eventually entered into a plea deal where she pled ‘no contest’ to a misdemeanor charge and served no jail time.

The arbitrator’s ruling called for the state to pay Shekter Smith nearly $200,000 in back pay and other compensation.

Under the settlement, the state of Michigan has agreed to pay $300,000. Shekter Smith has agreed not to seek reinstatement to her old job. And her departure will now be classified as a voluntary resignation instead of a firing.

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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