FLINT (WJRT) (12/12/2018) - Flint Mayor Karen Weaver released a defiant and angry statement Wednesday, a day after Michigan's top doctor got a new job with more protection.
Dr. Eden Wells, the chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, has been hired to a newly created position in the department that pays nearly $180,000 a year.
Earlier this week, Wells was bound over to trial on felony charges, including involuntary manslaughter, related to a Legionnaire's disease outbreak during the Flint water crisis. Gov. Rick Snyder is allowing her to stay on the job while court proceedings continue.
Wells is accused of failing to tell the public about a Legionnaires' disease outbreak that became deadly.
He new job is under the Population Health Administration section of the Department of Health and Human Services. The position comes with civil service protections, meaning she can't be dismissed for political reasons when Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer takes office.
Snyder has said he wasn't aware Wells was being considered for a new job.
Weaver is insulted by Wells' new position and the message it appears to send the city of Flint.
"To create a new position, a classified position, with protections in place, one where she was the only applicant, it's just plain insulting," Weaver said.
She believes the new job for Wells was created specifically created to shield her when Whitmer takes office.
"Not only is this a defiant laugh in the face of Flint residents, but this appears to be a blatant maneuver to keep the governor-elect from making any decisions as far keeping or removing a very controversial employee," Weaver said.
State Sen. Jim Ananich, a Democrat from Flint, called Well's hiring an insult to taxpayers.
Wells' legal team has vowed to appeal Monday's ruling sending her to trial. Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon also is appealing a ruling that sends his involuntary manslaughter case to trial.