WARREN (WWJ) – Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel is taking a local mayor to task — accusing him of creating “hysteria” through his ominous posts on social media.
Hackel said he’s very disappointed in Warren Mayor Fouts regarding comments he made on Facebook hinting at a major environmental scandal brewing that the mayor compared to the Flint water crisis.
“I’m closely watching this development,” Fouts posted at 11:11 p.m. Wednesday. “If what I heard and understand is true this could cost the taxpayers a good deal of money and somebody must be held accountable for this unacceptable mess. This is a developing situation. Could be a mini version of what happened in Flint.”
Hackel stressed that the water in Macomb County is safe.
“I find it absolutely deplorable,” Hackel told reporters at a news conference. “I can’t even explained to you the people who called who were really worried about this because of the crisis that did happen in Flint, and to exploit that…no public official should exploit the crisis in Flint.
“That was an incident in and of itself; that was a real issue,” he added. “And to the magnitude that it was, it’s still something that they’re trying to address.”
Hackel said he was glad to see that Fouts backed town from his original statement, in later posts clarifying that the alleged issue isn’t related to water quality.
Hackel hasn’t spoken to him. His office is awaiting a call back.
“I think the real story is: Why would the mayor of the third largest city in the state of Michigan, the largest city in the county of Macomb, create such a hysteria — not reach out to county officials, not talk to county officials, not talk to the media, but put some kind of post out like this to get families worried about it; use Flint as a way to exploit whatever other concern he may have,” Hackel said. “And yet leave people sitting there wondering what’s going on with their drinking water.”
Many of the more than 100 comments on Fouts’ posts are critical of the mayor, urging him to stop scaring people and to provide more information to residents about this alleged problem.
Speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950 later in the day, Hackel said officials don’t know what Fouts is talking about and that they’re seeking more information.
“I mean, I called him at 6 o’clock this morning after I saw that, because I know what I know and that there was no harm or concern dealing with the here in Macomb County,” Hackel told WWJ’s Jackie Paige.
Fouts later in the day told WWJ that he Hackel is “overreacting,” explaining that his concerns are about “illegal dumping” in a landfill under Freedom Hill which could cause environmental issues. [MORE ON THIS HERE].