FOURNIER: Shouldn’t you have done more, quicker?
SNYDER: Again, in retrospect, the answer is yes. I mean, we did a lot but more could have been done.
FOURNIER: But even after in mid-September when the (Hurley Children’s Hospital) results came out and it was clear that there were kids who were already poisoned and being affected, it really took another month or so before the state got geared up. Correct?
SNYDER: From the time it was identified by the DEQ that there was a problem with the lead in the water and it was confirmed by (the state Health Department) that there were elevated blood levels, we took action within a couple of days …
FOURNIER: Is there going to be a commitment from the state, a commitment from anybody, that whatever these kids need, they will get?
SNYDER: We are going to make a long-term commitment. This commitment goes on for decades.
FOURNIER: Is there going to be a dollar figure attached?
SNYDER: That’s something that’s going to take some time to develop …
FOURNIER: (Critics have) called this your Katrina. Do you think that’s unfair?
SNYDER: No. It’s a disaster.
FOURNIER: What is the leadership parallel between Katrina—where President Bush started, how he handled it, and where he ended up—and you?
SNYDER: I didn’t follow all the Katrina steps and all the issues so I couldn’t do that for you.
FOURNIER: But you do see this as a black mark on your leadership and a potential opportunity to turn things around?
SNYDER: It’s clearly a negative on what we’ve accomplished since I’ve been governor. And I don’t even describe it as an opportunity I just want to make sure we’re doing whatever we can to deal with the damage and address the people of Flint in a constructive way …
FOURNIER: Given what we now know they knew, how in the world does the EPA and the MDEQ not act to alert the public?
SNYDER: I think that’s what will come out of this in the longer term. This shows that there were multiple failures at multiple levels.
FOURNIER: Which gets me back to the thing that you and I have talked about, this idea of trust in government and trust in all of our institutions. It seems to me like Katrina (and other high-profile failures of leadership), this is an example in which every institution that was supposed to help these people … let them down. How are people ever going to trust not just state government, but every institution?
SNYDER: That’s the nature of trust. Trust is something that once you lose it, it’s much harder to earn it back. So that’s the point we’re at.
FOURNIER: You’ve lost some of the public’s trust?
SNYDER: Yes. And that’s hard, that’s awful.
FOURNIER: How does that affect you personally?
SNYDER: It makes you feel terrible. It’s a terrible thing to happen. I spent most of my career—that’s why went in to do this: to improve things, because I didn’t think things were being done as well as they could be done. It shows there are challenges even when you come in from the outside. You think you can bring new (thinking). This was a case where we had people who had been in these jobs for years, (who) hadn’t gotten the change memo yet saying there’s got to be a better way of doing things. So they kept doing things the way they have …