FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan
August 2, 2018
Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, [email protected]
Documents Suggest Lt. Governor Calley Inflated His Involvement in Flint
Search of emails yields zero conversations between Calley, Mayor of Flint
LANSING — Progress Michigan, a government watchdog group, released the results of a Freedom of Information Act request showing Lt. Governor Brian Calley did not have any communication with the Mayor of Flint Karen Weaver or Rob Bincski, the director of public works for Flint. The documents paint a different story than claims made by Calley that he “rolled up his sleeves” to fix the Flint Water Crisis.
The documents, provided to Progress Michigan by the City of Flint in response to a FOIA request show zero emails between Brian Calley and the two local officials most responsible for water quality in the city.
“Brian Calley seems to think leadership is showing up for the cameras and skipping town before the real work begins. The dearth of emails make you question how involved Calley really was in Flint,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “This is par for the course with Calley. He skipped nearly a third of sessions days to attend college in his first term and now it seems he inflated his involvement in Flint to try to turn the biggest scandal of his career into a positive. This is shameless.”
While there were no responsive documents that included emails from Calley to Mayor Weaver or Director Bincsik, there were a few mentions of Calley within emails from city officials:
- In March of 2016, Ari Adler with the Snyder administration wrote a response to an email with the subject line, “You guys need to start communicating with Mayor Weaver” —admitting Calley did not meet with Mayor Weaver and further noting that despite Calley’s claim that he has taken the leadership role that Rich Baird is the lead person on Flint. (pages 80-81 of documents)
- In April of 2016, Calley attended a meeting of the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee speaking for a total of 3 minutes (page 181 of documents)
- In December of 2016, Calley attended a meeting of the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee speaking for a total of 18 minutes (page 182 of documents)
- In March of 2017, Mayor Weaver was asked to comment on a public health award given to Calley and Mayor Weaver instructed her staff to not respond saying she had no comment (page 25 of documents)
Despite this limited amount of engagement with Flint leadership, Calley’s campaign website claims Calley had a focus on Flint:
“While many others pointed fingers, looked backward and played politics, Brian rolled up his sleeves and worked alongside the people of Flint to build a better future – including work on infrastructure, nutrition, education, healthcare and economic development.
After the discovery of elevated lead levels in Flint’s water system, Brian took action, moved his office to Flint and led efforts to connect residents with resources needed to move forward. He even personally went door to door in Flint to expedite the recovery efforts. He worked in Flint so much in 2016 that he personally filed a city income tax return there.” (Source)
Progress Michigan was unable to file a FOIA request with the Office of the Lt. Governor due to the fact that Calley’s office is exempt from transparency.
“We hope Lt. Governor Calley will voluntarily comply with the Freedom of Information Act and release any emails in his possession showing he was in regular contact with Mayor Weaver and Director Bincsik. He needs to prove his actions in Flint were more than opportunistic photo opportunities seeking to cash in politically on the suffering of the city he failed,” Scott continued. “From these records, it seem clear that while Calley has been hitting the clubs and tickling the ivories, the people of Flint have been singing the blues waiting for real help.”
Copies of the all the responsive documents can be found here.