Skubick: Robert Gordon subpoenaed over severance pay, student athletes testify on COVID testing

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A house committee in Lansing, without Democratic support, has voted to subpoena the state’s former public health director who accepted a $155,000 severance check in return for not disclosing why he and the Governor parted ways. The same committee also heard emotional testimony on the issue of COVID testing student athletes. 

The former State Public Health Director Dr. Robert Gordon got $155,000 when he and the Governor agreed that he would leave his post last January.

 The two agreed not to disclose why he left, but then they dissolved that agreement.

Dr. Gordon would only say that he and the Governor had some “robust discussions” and policy disagreements, and the Governor never fully explained why she accepted his resignation.

The House Oversight Committee asked Dr. Gordon to testify, and he declined leading to this.

“I move that the House Oversight vote to authorize the Chair to issue and serve a subpoena on Robert Gordon to compel his testimony,” said Re. Pat Outman, the Oversight Committee’s vice chair.

The six Republicans voted yes – the three Democrats voted no.

Dr. Gordon agreed to meet the committee next Thursday, but it remains to be seen if he says anything.

And then things got emotional as the topic switched to parental and student gripes about the Governor’s mandatory testing program for student athletes.

Cherri Lindsey complained that her daughter was being forced to take a COVID test that was dangerous to her health, and when they asked the Health Department for an exemption there was none.

“As a parent I’ve had my rights removed as far as what is best for my child and her medical wellbeing,” she said.

Student wrestler Tyler Janson told the committee he was denied a shot at a state wrestling title because of contact tracing even though he tested negative for covid nine times.

Mother Lindsay Whitaker argues parents are being bullied over “asinine regulations.”

“Our students should not be subjected to these asinine regulations that are not ethical, legally questionable and totally ineffective. our students are not guinea pigs for the state of Michigan,” she said.

 Democratic Representative Stephanie Young was sympathetic to these complaints, but explained why the Whitmer administration was taking these steps.

“More than 40% of the new outbreaks have come from the K-12 schools or youth sports,” she said.

The committee took no action on this issue, but a parent group is suing the Governor to block her mandatory testing program for kids who played sports in school.

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