Despite facing a jury trial and charges including involuntary manslaughter for her role in the Flint water crisis, Michigan’s chief medical examiner was presented a new government job that pays well and comes with civil service protections, according to MLive.
Dr. Eden Wells has been hired to fill a new position created within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at an annual salary of $179,672, a classified position that will afford her job protections she doesn’t currently have as chief medical executive, an unclassified -- or at-will -- position, a DHHS spokeswoman confirmed.
Wells was the only candidate to apply for the “advisory physician” position, which was posted for less than one week in November, according to the state.
“MDHHS determined there was a need for an advisory physician to the Population Health Administration, as we have with other administrations within the department,” spokeswoman Angela Minicuci said in an email to MLive-The Flint Journal. “The position will advise the administration on public health issues such as HIV, Hepatitis C, environmental health and more given the increasing focus on these and other public health issues in Michigan. MDHHS posted the position, and Dr. Wells was chosen for the role.”
Wells was appointed to the position just five days before Genesee District Judge William Crawford determined she would face a jury trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter, obstruction of justice and lying to a peace officer in relation to her role at DHHS during the Legionnaires' disease outbreak as Flint faced its water crisis.
MLive reported that outgoing Governor Rick Snyder did not appoint Wells to the position but offered a glowing review of her job performance:
Snyder has previously expressed strong support for Wells, saying just last week that she would remain on the job as the state’s top public health doctor at an annual salary of $184,000 and “has my full faith and confidence."
“Dr. Eden Wells is a strong advocate for public health and has proven many times over that she cares about what happens to the residents of this state now and well into the future,” Snyder said in a statement issued by his office after Wells was bound over to stand trial on Friday, Dec. 7.