Flint utility official resigns amid water controversy

Jim Lynch
The Detroit News

Flint’s top utility official has resigned his post as the city continues to deal with fall-out from its drinking water crisis.

A city spokesman confirmed Howard Croft has stepped down as director of public works this week. It’s a post he has held since late-2011, involving oversight of Flint’s water treatment and distribution.

The quality of the drinking water has been a controversial issue since the city began drawing it from the Flint River in the spring of 2014 as a cost-saving measure. A failure to treat that water with proper corrosion controls, coupled with aging lead-connection lines around the city, resulted in widespread lead contamination.

“(Croft) believed it was the right time for him to step down due to the issues with water,” said Jason Lorenz, Flint’s public information officer.

City and state officials linked to the switch from water provided by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River have been under intense scrutiny since the decision was made. Two lawsuits targeting those officials over their handling of the situation were filed this week.

“This action is about holding the government accountable for failing to protect the public health of an entire community,” said Anjali Waikar, an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a plaintiff in one of the suits. “This case also highlights a troubling trend in which the government is willing to cut costs at the expense of its most vulnerable citizens.”

Lorenz declined to comment on the lawsuits Tuesday, saying the city had not yet been served in the matters.


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