State employees charged with Flint, Michigan water crimes have been allowed to return to work after prosecutors dropped the charges against the employees with a plan to rebuild the investigation from square one, The Detroit News reported.
Two of the defendants, Nancy Peeler and Robert Scott, were sent letters from Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services on June 18 informing them that they have the option to come back to work, a spokeswoman told MLive.
“They can choose whether or not to return to work,” spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin told MLive reporters. “If they choose not to return, it would be treated like a resignation.”
Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud announced that she would drop the charges of eight people involved in the Flint water crisis, earlier this month, according to AP News.
State officials Peeler and Scott were being investigated for covering up data that revealed a rise in local blood lead levels of children while the city was using Flint River as its water supply.
Environmental Regulator and drinking water specialist Patrick Cook also had charges against him dropped after being accused of not taking corrective action and misleading a federal agency about the corrosion controls of the water, The Detroit News reported.
“Efforts are underway to coordinate dates for them to return to work given the recent actions,” Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy spokesman Scott Dean said.
Most of the state employees charged with the Flint Water Crisis were put on paid leave and have been off the job for the last three years. Five of the eight people who were charged were state employees, according to MLive.
“I want to remind the people of Flint that justice delayed is not always justice denied and a fearless and dedicated team of career prosecutors,” Attorney General Dana Nessel in a statement. “Investigators are hard at work to ensure those who harmed you are held accountable.”
Although the charges for the eight people were dropped, Solicitor General Hammoud announced that plan is to still pursue each case with stronger evidence.
In a statement released this June, Hammoud explained that upon assuming responsibility for the cases, her team felt that there were flaws in the case built by former special prosecutor Todd Flood, who was selected by former Attorney General Bill Schuette.
“Dismissing these cases allows us to move forward according to the non-negotiable requirements of a thorough, methodical and ethical investigation,” Hammoud wrote in the statement.
“Our team’s efforts have produced the most comprehensive body of evidence to date related to the Flint Water Crisis. We are now in the best possible position to find the answers the citizens of Flint deserve and hold all responsible parties accountable.”