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Liane Smith receives back pay and compensation for being "political scapegoat" in Flint Water Crisis

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STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO
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The only Michigan official fired in the Flint water disaster likely was a "public scapegoat" who lost her job because of politics.

That's according to a court arbitrator in the matter.

An arbitrator is ordering nearly 200 thousand dollars in back pay and other compensation for Liane Shekter Smith.

She served as head of the state's drinking water office that approved Flint's water system switch to the Flint River, causing problems with e-coli, lead and legionella bacteria.

Shekter Smith was demoted and then fired in 2016.

The arbitrator noted that state engineers who had a direct role in Flint's water switch were suspended with pay and later allowed to return to work.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy declined to comment Wednesday but said an appeal was being considered.