Gov. Whitmer's 'Secret' Payout to Ex-Official Raises Eyebrows of GOP
New York’s Andrew Cuomo isn’t the only Democratic governor who is on the hot seat.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is under fire for a payout a former state health official received as he resigned from office, according to a report Monday in The Detroit News.
Robert Gordon, former director of the state Department of Health and Human Services, reportedly received $155,506 in a separation deal with the Whitmer administration that required both parties not to release the details that led to his resignation.
According to the agreement, which The News obtained via an open records request, both Gordon and Whitmer agreed to not discuss details of his resignation, which the agreement states is “in the interest of protecting deliberations among government officials.”
Leader of Michigan health department’s pandemic response paid $155K to keep quiet about abrupt departure the day he reopened restaurants. Scoop by @CraigDMauger. https://t.co/Qxlbm811k4
— Gary Miles (@GaryMiles_DN) March 2, 2021
The News also obtained emails between Mark Totten, chief legal counsel to Whitmer, and Gordon that detailed Totten’s suggestion of an “executive separation agreement.”
“This email is to notify you that the governor has accepted your resignation as director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services today, January 22, 2021,” Totten wrote. “If you would like to discuss an executive separation agreement, please contact Assistant Attorney General Jeanmarie Miller, Department of Attorney General.”
According to a Detroit News article Tuesday, Deputy Health Director Sarah Etsy also received a separation deal and payout.
→ Yesterday: Ex-Michigan health director Robert Gordon got $155K payout in confidentiality deal. https://t.co/b5lzkmShb5
→ This morning: Deputy director Sarah Esty also reached a separation agreement with the state: https://t.co/li1AIpHWjF pic.twitter.com/YkRFdVeSzN
— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) March 2, 2021
Of course, not everyone is pleased about the secret payout.
State Rep. Matt Hall, former chairman of the Michigan House Oversight Committee, told The News he was “stunned” by the separation agreement.
“The people of Michigan deserve to know what was going on here,” the Republican said.
Following the news of the separation agreement, the Michigan GOP has demanded the state’s attorney general, Dana Nessel, investigate the separation agreement, Fox News reported Tuesday.
“Whitmer cannot remain silent on this shady deal,” the state party said Monday on Twitter.
This is not the only bout of drama the lockdown-happy Whitmer has faced recently.
Eight Republican lawmakers wrote to the state and national attorneys general, Nessel and Monty Wilkinson, on Wednesday demanding an investigation into Whitmer’s handling of nursing home patients with COVID-19, which they speculate contributed to Michigan’s total coronavirus death toll substantially.
The odds are frankly not in Whitmer’s favor.
The Democrat paid multiple officials in her administration to “remain confidential” about the details of their resignations and is seemingly indifferent to the possibility that her executive orders caused the deaths of hundreds of nursing home patients.
Whitmer might not beat Cuomo in the race for the worst governor in the nation, but she will be a close second.
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