Wed. Apr 21st, 2021

By David EGGERT, associated Press

LANSING, Michigan. (AP) – Michigan Following the revelation of two additional employment-segregation deals for former top government officials, a prominent government leader on Tuesday admitted that a major leader of the state was paid 155,000 in response to the coronovirus epidemic following his sudden resignation Was.

The state said former unemployment insurance agency director Steve Gray, who resigned in November after falling in favor of the governor, reached a separate agreement. The Associated Press filed an open-record request, after which the agency refused to provide or further elaborate a copy.

Sarah Esty, a deputy director in the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, who left in late January, also had a separate agreement. Such deals appear to be highly unusual in the state government.

Former DHHS director Robert Gordon, who, following emergency orders from the Democratic governor, issued a COVID-19 ban, upholding an October court ruling, abruptly resigned on January 22. At the time, Whitmer did not say that he sought out.

But his Feb. 22 severance treaty, exposed on Monday as part of newspaper public-records requests, suggested he was forced. The $ 155,506 payment covers nine months of salary and his payment to continue health coverage. The parties agreed – “in the interest of protecting deliberations among government officials” – to maintain confidentiality regarding Gordon’s departure, which would not sue the state.

On January 29, a week after Gordon’s exit, AT signed an agreement with the Department of Health’s human resources director in which he was placed on administrative leave until February 26, at which time he resigned. That contract, first reported by the Detroit News, has no confidentiality provision. He earned $ 156,060 a year, so the extra month’s salary was about $ 12,000.

Republican lawmakers criticized Whitmer’s COVID-19 sanctions that vowed to investigate.

“We have an executive, a cabinet member, who is being paid not to talk,” the representative said. Marshall’s Marshall Hall. “He knows a lot about how these decisions are made. … why did you pay this hush money? “

Whitmer emphasized the characterization, without saying why Gordon got paid.

“Separate agreements are often used in the public and private sector when someone leaves an organization in a leadership position,” she said. “Due to the nature of the agreement, there is no more than I can say on the subject. I want to say that. There was no hiccup about the work of director Gordon. It’s just that he resigned and I called it Accepted. “

At least one GOP legislator promised to try to prevent Whitmer from entering future taxpayer-funded segregation deals, which “silence” the authorities. Representative, Annette Glenn, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said she would add a provision to the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy budget bill and encourage other subcommittee chairmen to do the same for all other department budgets.

Whitmer’s predecessor, an aide to Republican former Gov. Rick Snyder, said he was unaware of similar egregious arrangements with top departure officials. However, Snyder was known to move from high-status jobs to other state positions.

In 2014, Whitmer – then Senate Minority Leader – called for an independent review after the resignation of former state treasurer Andy Dillon for three months to be given equal pay. He worked as an advisor to his successor during that period. Whitmer said taxpayers want to know that the department was “being run in a responsible manner.”

Gordon, a senior adviser at the University of Michigan’s Poverty Resolution Initiative, released a statement on Tuesday.

“I have worked in government for a long time and I believe that elected CEOs need to take a final decision about the policy with confidential advice,” he said. “They also need to be comfortable with their agency heads. Since the epidemic began, there have been many leadership changes in other states. It is no surprise that they will be in Michigan. “

Follow David Eggert at https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00

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