At this point it seems the only person in the governor’s office who didn’t know about the deadly state-created slow-motion train wreck that has become known as the Flint water crisis was the governor himself, Rick Snyder, Mr. Relentless Positive Action.
[Full disclosure: I voted for Snyder for governor not once, but twice. I have come to regret it.]
But is it really plausible that Snyder didn’t know about the tainted, corrosive Flint River water being piped into residents’ homes, businesses, schools, and hospitals?
Is it plausible he didn’t know about the lead leaching from the city’s antiquated infrastructure, poisoning residents?
Is it plausible Snyder didn’t know about the two Legionnaire’s Disease outbreaks which sickened nearly 90 people, killing nine, after Flint, under the control of state-appointed emergency managers, switched its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River?
Let’s consider some of the possibilities:
- Snyder is lying and knew all along. He’s playing dumb now in an effort to avoid political and potentially criminal accountability.
- Snyder was so out of touch with what was happening in his own office that he legitimately didn’t know.
- Snyder naively believed subordinates who told him that everything was under control and he never bothered to follow up despite mounting public outcry.
- Snyder cultivated a management style in which subordinates were afraid to give him bad news and so hid the facts from the governor.
- Snyder created a climate in which he only wanted to hear about solutions, not problems. Since his subordinates had no solutions, they kept their mouths shut about the Flint debacle.
- Snyder put in place a management system in which responsibility was delegated to key advisors and bureaucrats, but mechanisms to hold those officials accountable were never developed, and the governor never bothered to do so personally.
So take your pick. Snyder is either criminally negligent, personally out of touch, or administratively incompetent. No matter which description fits, the man is unfit to continue to serve as governor. He should resign.
If Snyder won’t, and should the recently approved recall petition make it on the ballot in November, Michigan voters should remove him from office. Given the chance, that’s how I’ll vote.