Despite a notorious crisis in Flint, Michigan where residents were exposed to “foul-smelling, discolored, and off-tasting” water contaminated by lead, the city’s mayor is set to receive a massive pay raise.
The raise, from a yearly salary of $91,801 to $125,000, amounts to a 36 percent raise and is seven to eight times higher than the city’s average income, the Daily Caller reports.
Flint has a per capita income of $16,554, according to Censusfigures, meaning Mayor Karen Weaver will now be making between seven and eight times as much as an average constituent in the 100,000-person city.
The city is best known for a contaminated water crisis that began after the City Council voted 7-1 to begin [temporarily] supplying water from the Flint River instead of from Detroit. The federal government had to put $100 million towards fixing it after alleged criminal behavior and incompetence by Michigan officials over a period of years.
A majority of the city council reportedly did not find sufficient reason to deny the mayor the tremendous raise.
“Ain’t no reason to vote no,” Councilman Eric Mays, who is a convicted felon, told Councilman Santino Guerra, who tried to reject the raise.
“You get what you pay for,” fellow Councilman Maurice Davis added. “How dare you try and deny the mayor an increase in her pay?”
Here’s even more from the Daily Caller:
In 2013, Flint citizens elected multiple violent felons to city council. Wantwaz Davis served 19 years in prison for murder. Mays also pleaded guilty to felonious assault in 1987, Mlive reported. Councilman Jackie Poplar, meanwhile, filed bankruptcy a year before first being elected to city council.
Even though the EPA has given the city $100 million, its citizens are suing the federal government for nearly a billion dollars, charging that the federal government should have forced state officials to their jobs.
The National Resources Defense Council reports the 2014 Flint water crisis resulted in “a series of major water quality and health issues for Flint residents—issues that were chronically ignored, overlooked, and discounted by government officials even as complaints mounted that the foul-smelling, discolored, and off-tasting water piped into Flint homes for 18 months was causing skin rashes, hair loss, and itchy skin.”
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder appointed an emergency manager to oversee and cut city costs. This precipitated the tragic decision in 2013 to end the city’s five-decade practice of piping treated water for its residents from Detroit in favor of a cheaper alternative: temporarily pumping water from the Flint River until a new water pipeline from Lake Huron was built. Although the river water was highly corrosive, Flint officials failed to treat it, and lead leached out from aging pipes into thousands of homes.
Soon after the city began supplying residents with Flint River water in April 2014, residents started complaining that the water from their taps looked, smelled, and tasted foul. Despite protests by residents lugging jugs of discolored water, officials maintainedthat the water was safe. A study conducted the following year by researchers at Virginia Tech revealed the problem: Water samples collected from 252 homes through a resident-organized effort indicated citywide lead levels had spiked, with nearly 17 percent of samples registering above the federal “action level” of 15 parts per billion (ppb), the level at which corrective action must be taken. More than 40 percent measured above 5 ppb of lead, which the researchers considered an indication of a “very serious” problem.
“Flint’s water supply was plagued by more than lead,” the report continued. “The city’s switch from Detroit water to the Flint River coincided with an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease (a severe form of pneumonia) that killed 12 and sickened at least 87 people between June 2014 and October 2015. The third-largest outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease recorded in U.S. history.”