LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)— On Thursday former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon will testify before state lawmakers, about the circumstances of his departure.
The House Oversight Committee issued a subpoena for his testimony last week, with them wanting to know why Gordon left so suddenly, and why he was paid $155,000 in severance. He also signed a nondisclosure agreement that didn’t allow him or Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to comment on the circumstances of his departure.
Gordon told the House Oversight Committee that he resigned in January after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told him it was “time to go in a new direction.”
The statement Thursday confirmed what the governor’s office had refused to say publicly despite his $155,000 severance deal – that he was ousted after two years on the job.
Gordon told lawmakers while he wasn’t satisfied with how he left the position atop the Michigan health department, he was satisfied with how he served during his time. He also said his main focus during his tenrue was to save lives.
Gordon ordered coronavirus restrictions for more than three months after the Democratic governor lost powers in a court ruling. He resigned in January, and the governor appointed Elizabeth Hertel to fill the position.
Today, I am resigning from the Whitmer Administration. It’s been an honor to serve alongside wonderful colleagues. I look forward to the next chapter.— Robert Gordon (@robertmgordon) January 22, 2021
What role did the governor play?
When speaking with the governor shortly after Gordon announced his resignation, 6 News capitol correspondent Tim Skubick raised the issue, did the governor ask her former MDHHS director to resign. It’s a question she refused to answer when asked by multiple media outlets.
Skubick: “All the governors I’ve covered over the years, each one of them individually, have had a tremendous problem, conceding that they hired people they didn’t want to have around. Can you explain to me why governors can’t admit ya know what? We just need to move on. It wasn’t the right choice, and we turn the page. Why can’t governors say that?”
Whitmer: ” Ya know what Tim because I think It’s so important that people know, we have been fortunate to have some incredible leaders um, it has been a grueling couple of year, and we have seen across the country, that it takes a toll, and having some change in administration isn’t something unusual, it doesn’t mean there is some big story behind it, it is what happens, and we’re very fortunate that we have someone like Elizabeth Hertel, who can step into the role and help us navigate the next steps of COVID. I’m really grateful for Robert Gordon he worked incredibly hard. I know that everyone is looking for more there, but there’s just not more there. We’re going to keep moving forward.”
Skubick: “Well then with all due respect, then just tell me I didn’t ask him to resign?”
Whitmer: “You know what Tim, I’m sure you can understand, that all the different employment relationships, sometimes you can’t share every little detail of every conversation that you’ve had”
You can view the full conversation on the matter, in the video above.
<<<The Associated Press contributed to this report.