LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – The governor’s point person in the Flint water crisis rarely gives interviews, but Harvey Hollis indicates the city is returning to normal.
But there is a major lesson to learn by the Snyder administration. “Things are getting back to normal,” said Harvey Hollis.
Harvey Hollis, through most of the Flint water crisis, has been on the front lines for the governor but clearly in the background when the media is around.
During a chance meeting the other day, Mr. Hollis offered an update on why normalcy is returning to Flint.
- Local Power Restored
- State Oversight
- Water Tests Better
- KWA Pipeline Soon
Mr. Hollis reports another critical element of the recovery remains a major challenge: Convincing the citizens to trust state government again.
“What needs to occur is developing and building trust. That’s going to be a long task,” added Hollis.
That job is so big it sometimes keeps him up nights. “Yes, it does and I can’t blame them for feeling the way they do,” he says.
Recently the governor was asked if the state had turned the corner on the crisis. He was not ready to say that just yet. “I would say we are in recovery,” said Snyder. “There is still a lot of work to get done. We need to still get the lead pipe removals, the water is still in filter condition not coming out of the tap directly in terms being safe to drink. So there is extra steps to be taken and we are going to stay committed all the way through.”
Mr. Hollis is not sure when residents can use unfiltered water but he knows that when the government says it is safe, the locals will not believe it.
When the governor ran for office he asserted that his administration would be data driven, but Mr. Hollis concludes you also have to factor the human element and here’s what the administration needs to do.
“To pay attention to the concerns of people who are living in these communities, to not just let science have the final say-so,” said Hollis. “Also to look past the scientists to see there really is a problem.”
It’s a matter of looking past the data and seeing the people. “You have to look beyond the data and see people. That’s our public service.”
The governor’s critics contend he did not initially do that.