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Wells' new state job a 'Slap in the Face' says Flint mayor

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor is dumbfounded by a decision to offer a new state job to one of the defendants in the Flint water crisis criminal investigation.

Dr. Eden Wells is Michigan’s Chief Medical executive.  She’s facing involuntary manslaughter and other charges in connection with the Flint water crisis and a deadly Legionnaires Disease outbreak in Genesee County. Last week, a judge decided there is enough evidence to send her case to trial.

The state Department of Health and Human Services recently picked Wells for new state job where she’ll earn $180,000 a year to give advice on public health issues.

“I think it’s a slap in the face to the people of this city,” says Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. “I think it’s disrespectful. And it shows what they think of us.”

Weaver suggests other people charged with involuntary manslaughter would more likely expect to get a job with the state “making license plates.”

Prosecutors insist Wells should have done more to warn the public about the Legionnaires outbreak. At least 12 people died from the pneumonia-like illness. 

Wells’ attorney Stephen Tramontin maintains hisclient is innocent.

He’s trying to convince a higher court to toss out the judge’s ruling sending her case to trial.

In addition to involuntary manslaughter, Wells is charged with lying to a police officer and obstruction of justice.     

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.