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Flint: A Failure at All Levels of Government

More resignations are needed and will probably follow.

Safety and security is perhaps the primary focus of government in serving people. For the citizens of Flint, Mich., they have been failed by their governments -- local, state and federal. Clean drinking water is something that we have taken for granted in the United States for a long time. 

There have been spills in waterways, toxic cleanups to be performed, but I can't recall where human decision-making concerning a water system has brought about a public health emergency like we have seen in Flint. In looking to be pennywise they have proven that you can be gallon foolish. 

What compounded the issue and has destroyed trust in their governments is the lack of action on the part of the people who were supposed to be looking out for the health and welfare of the community's citizens, especially the children. While some personnel resignations have already occurred with the regional EPA administrator being the first to fall, more resignations, suspensions and investigations will take their toll, and appropriately so, of others involved in not responding to the crisis in a timely manner. 

Let this be a warning to all of us. Attention to detail and not blowing off citizen concerns when they raise issues, and investigating appropriately is something we need to be attuned to.

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.