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    FILE - Vehicles drive through downtown Flint, Mich., on Jan. 21, 2016. From its founding, Flint's fortunes essentially were entwined with a single industry. First it was the fur trade, which shifted to lumber, which gave way to the horse carriages that led to it being called Vehicle City. It was a fitting moniker for its next, most important role, as a powerhouse of auto manufacturing and the original home of General Motors.

    Official Behind Flint’s Water Crisis Resigns, Won't Testify Before Congress

    © AP Photo / Paul Sancya
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    On Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform met for a hearing regarding the Flint water crisis, and noticeably absent were some key officials involved in the scandal -- including Governor Rick Snyder and the city’s former emergency manager, despite the fact that the latter was subpoenaed.

    Detroit Public Schools emergency manager Darnell Earley, who served as Flint's emergency manager from September 2013 until January 2015, not only refused to testify at the hearing, but he also resigned from his current post on Tuesday, effective February 29.

    Governor Snyder was reportedly not called to testify, despite a letter signed by the 18 Democrats on the committee to Chairman Jason Chaffetz demanding that he call upon the governor to be present.

    “Although we have made multiple requests for you to invite the Governor, to date you have neither invited him to testify nor provided a timeframe by which you might do so,” the letter read.

    Many Flint residents and officials alike are accusing Earley of resigning to avoid having to testify about his role in the water crisis.

    State Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, a Democrat who represents Flint, told Click on Detroit that the resignation "in no way allows [Earley] to dodge his responsibility to fully comply with every investigation about his role in the Flint water crisis. The governor must demand that he testify before Congress tomorrow and be completely transparent in turning over every document related to what happened."

    “At Wednesday's hearing, we won't hear from the governor, any of the emergency managers he appointed in Flint, or anyone else from the state who was involved in making decisions that led to this crisis,” Representative Elijah Cummings wrote in a statement.

    “In our search for the truth, we must hear from everyone involved to understand what happened. Having such a one-sided hearing undermines the credibility of the committee and subjects the committee to accusations of partisanship. No matter who is responsible, the people of Flint deserve a comprehensive investigation that gets them answers—not a partisan effort to protect the governor and others who brought about this crisis.”

    Residents are unlikely to be upset about Earley’s resignation, no matter the motivation, however. Last Thursday, a teacher’s union and several parents filed a lawsuit seeking his removal, citing black mold, bacteria, freezing cold or overly hot classroom temperatures, rodent and insect infestations, exposed wiring and falling debris within the Detroit public schools.

    The union claims that Earley and other officials allowed the schools to deteriorate, forcing students “to spend their young lives in deplorable surroundings, risking their health and safety in the process, and imposing on students and their teachers an atmosphere that interferes with their securing a minimally sufficient education.”


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