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Warren mayor and Macomb County executive at odds over cryptic Facebook post

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Warren Mayor Jim Fouts and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel at a 2012 event.

The mayor of Warren is defending a social media post that caused some panic and confusion among residents this week.

In a Facebook post late Wednesday, Jim Fouts referenced a “major environmental scandal brewing in Macomb County” that “could be a mini version of what happened in Flint.”

Following the post, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel says his office was flooded with calls about the safety of the area's drinking water.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Hackel scolded Fouts for stirring up panic.

“You've got the mayor of the third largest city in Michigan giving some kind of indication that this is a mini-Flint crisis on our hands. I find it absolutely deplorable," Hackel said.

Fouts later clarified that the area’s water was fine in another post, but he didn’t offer further details about the aforementioned “scandal.”

In an interview, he said the original post was actually in reference to an “illegal dumping” site at Freedom Hill Park, which he accuses the county of trying to cover up.

“I don’t regret what I said. The public has a right to know. I was very careful in what I said on my Facebook … I didn’t name names and I didn’t say anything about water,” Fouts said.

In another post on Thursday, Fouts said he plans to speak with the Department of Environmental Quality and “other experts” about the illegal dumping site.

Rebecca Kruth is the host of All Things Considered at Michigan Public. She also co-hosts Michigan Public's weekly language podcast That’s What They Say with English professor Anne Curzan.
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