Darnell Earley Refuses to Testify On Flint Water, Resigns as EM of DPS
Mr. "that was a local decision" himself, former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley is reportedly refusing to testify before Congress about the Flint water crisis, and has also resigned as EM of Detroit Public Schools.
Darnell Earley was one of several Emergency Managers who was handed dictator-like authority over Flint by Governor Snyder. He was also the EM in charge when Flint switched their water source from Detroit to the Flint River. We all know how that turned out. Now, according to Mlive, he is refusing to testify about the Flint water crisis before Congress. He has also just resigned as the EM for Detroit Public Schools.
Earley has claimed previously that Flint's Mayor at the time (Dayne Walling), and the city council made the decision to 1.) separate from Detroit water 2.) join the KWA, and 3.) use the Flint River in the meantime several months before he was EM. However, he speaks of those decisions as if they were part of one vote, when they actually were three separate decisions made at different times, probably by different people. In a recent interview, Walling responded, saying, "Darnell Earley was serving in Saginaw, and he needs to stop commenting about this, because he doesn't know what he's talking about."
It remains unclear who actually gave the green light for the Flint River to be used as the main water source, but is that even who is to blame here? Maybe the fault lies with someone that passed bad information to whomever made that decision, or with the person that didn't treat the water properly, or all of them. We just don't know. This story has so many layers of institutional failure that it's probably impossible for a hearing to result in finding all of the guilty parties.
There is only one thing that is certain in this ordeal -- someone (or multiple someones) made reckless decisions to save money that resulted in a city being poisoned. Whether or not any of that blame lies with Earley is unknown, but backing away from it as fast as possible certainly doesn't make him look innocent. He does have a record of putting savings over safety, like when he made the decision to cut 36 police and 19 firefighters in one of America's most violent cities. Luckily for him, there's no way to track how many lives that decision cost the city.