State A. G. Says City Council Vote Could Put FAST Start Pipe Replacement Program in Jeopardy

FLINT, Mich – The City of Flint Law Department and City Administrator received a letter today from Assistant State Attorney General, Richard Kuhl. The purpose of the letter was to provide official notice that the City of Flint was in violation of the settlement agreement reached in the Concerned Pastors vs. Khouri lawsuit earlier this year. According to the terms of the settlement, the City of Flint has an obligation to remove and replace lead and galvanized steel water service lines leading to thousands of homes in Flint. This effort is currently underway through Mayor Weaver’s FAST Start pipe replacement program. However, this week Flint City Council did not approve a change order needed to continue the contract of the FAST Start program director through the end of the construction season. Richard Kuhl states in the letter, that this is a problem and puts the future of the pipe replacement program in jeopardy.

“The City Council’s refusal to approve the change order will effectively remove the director of this program,” writes Kuhl. “General McDaniel’s planning, monitoring, and engagement with the contractors conducting the excavations has been critical to this massive undertaking.”

As of today, 3,122 lead-tainted service lines have been replaced in Flint. The City is obligated to replace 6,000 service lines by the end of this year.

Mayor Weaver previously thanked the C.S. Mott Foundation for funding a grant to pay General McDaniel for the work he is doing to coordinate the FAST Start pipe replacement program. She said the City has been given the funds to keep McDaniel onboard and prevent an interruption in the progress being made.

“All the council had to do was approve the change order,” said Weaver. “The fact that they did not, with no justifiable reason as to why, is disappointing and frustrating. Now we have the state stepping in once again, telling us we are in violation for not doing something we know needs to be done and have the ability to do. This is politics at its worst and the people of Flint deserve better. Why anyone representing this city would want to halt the progress being made to replace lead-tainted pipes is beyond me. The health and safety of residents and the recovery of this city must be a priority. I hope members of council will come to their senses and make this right.”

The Assistant Attorney General has given City officials 14 days to meet regarding this dispute.

Letter from Michigan Attorney General’s Office 8-16-2017