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Only Michigan official fired over Flint water crisis wants job back

Liane Shekter Smith and state official are meeting with an arbitrator this week
Liane Shekter Smith appears in a Genesee County courtroom.
Liane Shekter Smith appears in a Genesee County courtroom.(WILX)
Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 1:30 PM EDT
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DETROIT (AP) - The only Michigan official fired in the Flint water crisis wants to be reinstated and get years of back pay.

Liane Shekter Smith and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy are meeting privately this week with an arbitrator, more than five years after then-Gov. Rick Snyder fired Shekter Smith.

Shekter Smith was head of Michigan’s Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance when Flint, with the state’s approval, used the Flint River for water in 2014 and 2015. The highly corrosive water wasn’t properly treated before it flowed through aging pipes.

Shekter Smith initially was charged with misconduct in office and neglect of duty by former Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s administration. But in January 2019, those charges were dropped in exchange for a no-contest plea to a misdemeanor count of disturbing a lawful meeting.

Under terms of the plea deal, if Shekter-Smith complied her case would be dismissed. The court dismissed her case as planned in January 2020.

Shekter Smith is not among the nine former state and city officials charged in January after a second investigation into the Flint water crisis.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.