Former Flint Mayor testifies in Eden Wells case
FLINT, Mich. -- Michigan’s top doctor, Eden Wells back in a Flint courtroom. Wells is charged with involuntary manslaughter related to the Legionnaires outbreak.
Taking the stand today, former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling.
Walling served as mayor of Flint from August 2009 to November 2015.
During that time, the city changed from getting its water from the Great Lakes Water Authority in Detroit to the city of Flint.
"The primary concern with Detroit was never the quality of water," says Walling. "It was the cost."
After researchers detected lead in the water, Flint switched back to the Great Lakes Water Authority in October 2015.
"The switch back to Detroit, which I invested a great deal of time in my last weeks in office, was entirely because of health concerns," says Walling.
Those health concerns include an outbreak of Legionnaires disease.
Walling says he was informed McLaren Hospital had detected legionella in its water system as far back as October 2014 but he never became aware of actual cases until March 2015.
"That’s what the county health department was investigating," says Walling. "Tthey were working to get information to continue their investigation into the cause of those cases of legionnaires disease."
It was that same March when Walling said he meet Dr. Eden Wells at a technical advisory meeting. Well’s defense maintains she did not know anything about the legionella outbreak until after she was appointed chief medical executive in May 2015.
It would not be until January 2016 before the public was notified.
Prior to today’s court proceedings, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, who is also facing charges, gave Dr. Wells a handshake and a hug of support.
The preliminary trial against wells is scheduled to resume on Monday, December 18th.