Don't do this: learning from the Flint water crisis

May 24, 2016

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder promoted his business skills when first running for office, but those skills are now being questioned as the Flint water crisis continues to be a government nightmare. Grand Valley State University is taking the opportunity to learn from the mistakes made by the Snyder administration.

Gov. Snyder has been criticized for his handling of the Flint Water crisis, which will soon be a lesson learned for GVSU students.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Marie McKendall is a business professor at GVSU who will be using the Flint water crisis as a case study in her business ethics class this fall.

“It’s horrible that it happened, but it’s a wonderful case study,” McKendall said on Stateside. “There are structural problems, there are cultural problems, there are social problems and psychological problems. … It’s a far richer case than a lot of the ones we have used before.”

In the course, McKendall wants to make it clear that there isn’t a “villain” to hunt down, but that government incompetence did make the situation worse.

“I think they completely lost sight of the fact that there were people who were being affected by the decisions they were making," she said.

McKendall added that the incompetence by Snyder and his administration would never work in the business world. The way Snyder is quick to blame others before admitting error himself is an example of the “cover-your-butt mentality” that plagues his administration’s handling of the water crisis, said McKendall.

“There is no business that would survive well if it operated the way the government did with the Flint water case,” McKendall stated. “They were using bad management – period.”