Flint government employee Phil Stair was allegedly caught on audio by Truth Against the Machine reporter Chelsea Lyons blaming the horrendous water crisis on "f***ing n*****s" who "don't pay their bills."
He has resigned from his position as sales manager at the Genesee County Land Bank amidst fierce backlash to his abhorrent racism and disregard for the government's moral failure that led to Flint's contaminated water.
According to Truth Against the Machine, Lyons was driving to a restaurant with Stair and another individual when she recorded him saying:
"Detroit was charging all its customers for the cost — they weren’t collecting from their residents, they were shutting water off, they were letting bills go forever, they were charging everybody else; Flint has the same problems as Detroit — f***ing n*****s don't pay their bills, believe me, I deal with them."
He went on to clarify his racism with more racism.
"I don’t want to call them ni****s, shit I just went to Myrtle Beach, 24 guys, and I was the only white guy; I got friends, I mean, there’s trash and there’s people that do this shit. They just don’t pay their bills. Well, Detroit, didn’t collect on their bills, so they charged everybody else, but — Flint — Flint had to pay their bill to Detroit.”
Stair also told Lyons that Flint, which is 56 percent African-American, was forced to switch to the toxic Flint River as their main source of water due to Detroit's price hikes and unwillingness to budge from their money-making prerogative. This does not line up with previous reports that it would actually be less costly for Flint to stay with Detroit's water services and that Detroit had engaged in lengthy negotiations with Flint officials in attempts to maintain their business.
"A full investigation into Phil Stair should be launched. Every decision he ever made in Flint should [be] revisited," wrote noted activist Shaun King in the NY Daily News. "Every email and text message he ever sent should be searched — as should those of every single person who has touched anything related to Flint."
Every time a government official like Stair comes out of the racist woodwork, we must pay attention, and we must look harder and deeper into the power systems surrounding him. He is by no means a single bad egg, just a bad egg that got caught.
As the Flint story continues, more individuals like Stair may be revealed, and if Americans are to ensure people like this do not rise through the ranks, they must look harder and deeper at their local governments.