Rick Snyder Fires 2 Top Aides Amid Flint Water Crisis
By Paul Egan
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder removed his communications director and press secretary Thursday amid the ongoing Flint drinking water crisis, after each had been in their posts only a few months.
Meegan Holland is out as communications director and will be replaced by Ari Adler, who was press secretary to former House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, and has held several other senior communications positions in the executive and legislative branches.
Dave Murray is out as press secretary, Snyder's office announced. A new press secretary was not immediately named.
Holland, who had been on the job only since December, was named special projects manager in the governor's office and will initially focus on veteran affairs issues to address recent events at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, such as a scathing audit released last week, as well as the related change in leadership at the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
Murray, who was promoted from deputy press secretary to press secretary at the end of November, will now serve as communications director for the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development; Melanie Brown, who had held that role, continues her interim role assisting the Department of Environmental Quality with communications.
Jarrod Agen, Snyder's chief of staff, did not deny the changes were related in part to the Flint drinking water crisis and said they were part of a communications restructuring.
"We need to be more proactive, more urgent ... and less bureaucratic in all of our efforts, particularly when it comes to communications," Agen told the Detroit Free Press.
In the news release, Snyder said Adler "has a long history of service to the people of Michigan as a journalist, teacher and media relations professional. His experience in state government, the Legislature and the private sector have made him a trusted resource for journalists seeking to share information with the public."
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