Arbitrator: Official wrongly fired in Flint water scandal

DETROIT (AP) — The only Michigan official fired in the Flint water disaster likely was a “public scapegoat” who lost her job because of politics. That’s the opinion of an arbitrator who is ordering $191,880 in lost wages and other compensation for Liane Shekter Smith. She served as head of the state’s drinking water office when Flint’s water system was contaminated with lead. Shekter Smith was demoted and then fired in 2016. The arbitrator noted that state engineers who had a direct role in Flint were suspended with pay and allowed to return to work. The Michigan environmental agency declined to comment Wednesday but said an appeal was being considered.