FLINT, MI — Gov. Rick Snyder is talking about transferring “additional authorities” from the state to Mayor Karen Weaver, but it’s not known how quickly that transfer might take or whether it would end state oversight in the city.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Weaver in Lansing on Thursday, Jan. 7, Snyder said that in addition to fixing Flint’s water crisis, he wants to transfer powers to the new mayor.
“The other thing that I want to work with the mayor on very closely is how we can transition additional authorities to the mayor,” Snyder said. “Because my view is I want to be partnering with the elected official, which is the mayor.
“I’m excited for the role she’s playing there.”
Snyder has been under mounting pressure for the Flint water crisis, including national criticism for the role state-appointed managers have played in the city.
Flint was run by a succession of emergency managers from 2011 until April 2015, and remains under state oversight with a Receivership Transition Advisory Board appointed by the governor still in place.
During that period, the city’s drinking water source was temporarily changed from water supplied by the Detroit water system to the Flint River, a move that at the time was hailed for saving Flint millions of dollars in a short period of time.
The water arrangement soured, however, after questions were raised about health risks and elevated blood levels found after the switch.
Weaver advocated for an end to using the river, a change that eventually occurred in October 2015, and for an end to state involvement managing the city throughout her successful campaign for mayor last year.
Snyder this week repeated his claim that he is sorry for Flint’s water crisis and signed off on a request by Weaver and the Genesee County Board of Commissioners to declare an emergency in Flint.
The mayor said today that she expects to be able to release “some information about (state oversight of Flint) very soon,” but declined to comment further.
A news release from the city says, “Governor Snyder and Mayor Weaver also decided in the meeting (today) that the governor would begin the process of transitioning power back to Mayor Weaver per the Flint City Charter.”