Retired Official Gets Plea Deal for Flint Charges

     FLINT, Mich. (CN) — A former Michigan health official pleaded no contest Wednesday to misdemeanor neglect of duty stemming from Flint’s tainted-water crisis, in exchange for giving information to state investigators.
     The plea deal allows Corinne Miller, a former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services official, to only face a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a $1,000 fine, according to a Detroit News report.
     Miller was accused of having seen an initial report that noted high lead levels in the blood of Flint children and telling co-workers to refrain from acknowledging it. She was also accused of deleting emails that contained information from the report.
     Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office charged Miller in July with two felony counts of misconduct in office and conspiracy as well as the misdemeanor count of willful neglect of duty.
     Miller was the director of the Michigan Bureau of Epidemiology until she retired earlier this year.
     Flint’s water problems stem from its water-supply switch in April 2014, as commanded by the city’s emergency manager.
     While Flint had historically bought Lake Huron water from Detroit, an emergency manager for Flint, appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder, had the city start tapping into the polluted Flint River as a cost-cutting measure.
     State officials failed to apply corrosion-control measures first, however, which caused Flint’s aging pipes to leach lead into the water. Thousands were sickened before Snyder declared a state of emergency.
     Though the city is back on Detroit’s water system, Flint citizens remain under orders to use a filter because of lead that remains in the system.

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