LANSING, Mich. (Great Lakes News) – Separation agreements will continue to be a part of the way the state of Michigan does business, according to a new executive directive issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today.
The executive directive does not impact previous agreements and payouts to government employees, as seen in recent findings regarding former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon, former Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Steve Gray, and Sarah Esty, who worked under Gordon.
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Whitmer called her executive directive a way to “ensure greater accountability and promote transparency,” but she remained vague on how this directive would do that going forward.
In addition, the directive states a separation agreement can only include a payment if it saves the state from costly lawsuits.
All separation agreements must go through Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office for review prior to finalization.
Whitmer has come under fire for two months after the abrupt resignation of Gordon. He abruptly resigned his position in January with a $155,506 payout and a separation clause in the agreement he signed. Whitmer has awkwardly danced around questions regarding Gordon’s departure, and said she “bristles” at the allegations that he received “hush money.”
Gordon’s resignation has raised speculation regarding his working relationship with Whitmer, specifically regarding her COVID-19 nursing home policy. Whitmer continued to send COVID-19 positive patients into nursing homes with healthy residents.
Michigan’s nursing homes also received incentives to take COVID-19 positive patients.