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Robert Gordon releases statement on sudden resignation from MDHHS

In Gordon's statement, he said he believes "elected chief executives need to make final decision about policy with confidential advice."
Credit: Governor's office

LANSING, Mich. — Former director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) released a statement Tuesday detailing his time at MDHHS and the reason for his sudden resignation.

The statement came out yesterday, after news of his $155,000 payout was released. Gordon will receive the payout, so long as he drops all claims against the state, however the agreement did not specify what the claims are. 

Gordon abruptly resigned from MDHHS back in January, with little explanation why. When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was questioned about the change in leadership, she refused to discuss the circumstances surrounding his departure and did not specify whether she asked for his resignation. 

In Gordon's statement, he said he believes "elected chief executives need to make final decision about policy with confidential advice."

"They also need to be comfortable with their agency heads," the statement continued. "Since the pandemic began, many leadership changes have happened in other states. It’s no surprise they would happen in Michigan."

Gordon resigned after the Michigan Supreme Court effectively invalidated many of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gordon issued essentially the same mandates under state laws unaddressed by the court, prompting protests outside his home.

"This has been a grueling time for millions of families, including mine. Late last year, both my parents contracted COVID," Gordon explained in his statement. "My father, Alan Gordon, died on Saturday. He was a public employee who worked on behalf of individuals leaving prison or just finding a home. He taught me that what matters most in life is our service to others....I am grateful to have served." 

Read Gordon's full statement here.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Republican lawmakers are calling for more transparency. Lawmakers are working to prevent Whitmer from entering in future separation deals that "silence" departing officials, the Associated Press reports.

Whitmer appointed longtime health department employee Elizabeth Hertel as acting director. However, the Freep says several Republican senators have spoken out against her appointment. 

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