Michigan Gov. Cuts Ties With PR Firm Hired for Flint Water Crisis

By Shawn Paul Wood Comment

flint water

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Michigan) has royally screwed up.

Flint’s toxic water transformed two years ago, when Snyder switched the city’s drinking water source to the Flint River. As politicians do, he wanted to save some cash so the water wasn’t properly treated.

Jacked-up city plumbing, stopped-up drains, and damaging clogs have created areas for toxic lead to leak into the drinking water ever since.

After a public outcry, followed by substantial national news coverage, Snyder was forced to hire two PR entities to help — Bill Nowling of New York’s Finn Partners and D.C.-based Mercury Public Affairs.

Today, Mercury has no more messages to deliver on behalf of the Flint Water Crisis: (Greek mythology humor there.)

“Mercury’s agreement with Moving Michigan Forward was to provide short-term crisis communications support following the emergency declaration in Flint,” said [Mercury Public Affairs of Washington, D.C., spokesman Ari] Adler, who took over as the governor’s communications director in late February. “That agreement was completed.”

While that seems amicable, some in Detroit find it interesting that Finn continues to get a check. The odd thing is there is no favoritism here because both have ties to Snyder’s office.

The Detroit News reports that the governor’s Chief of Staff Jarrod Agen’s wife worked for Mercury, and Nowling was a spokesman on Snyder’s 2010 campaign and also a press secretary for former Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr.

So, there’s that: The PR relationships in Flint are about as murky as its water.

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