State Rep. Julie Calley took action to grant subpoena power to a House panel to further investigate the secret agreements connected to the recent abrupt departures of high-ranking officials in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration.
Calley, of Portland, co-sponsored House Resolution 60, which gives the House Oversight Committee authority to examine records and files related to employee separations and severance agreements.
“Michigan taxpayers have the right to know the circumstances behind these abrupt resignations,” Calley said. “The governor abused her authority when she used taxpayer dollars to buy people’s silence. It was wrong, and we must get to the bottom of it.”
Robert Gordon, the former director of the Department of Health and Human Services, resigned in January, shortly after issuing a new epidemic order extending gathering and face mask restrictions. It later came to light that he received a separation agreement worth $155,000.
Two other former officials also received sizable severances: Steve Gray, former director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency, and Sarah Esty, former senior deputy director of DHHS. The agreements with Gordon and Gray both included confidentiality provisions. Gordon has mutually waived confidentiality with the administration, but has continued to decline requests to testify before the committee.
“I’m proud of the many, many Michiganders who stood up and took action to make certain that such a power grab never happens again,” said Calley, of Portland. “The people of our state are much better off when our government leaders work collaboratively to solve our state’s problems.”
“For far too long, kids in our local school districts have gotten less funding than those in more affluent areas of the state,” Calley said. “I’ve been fighting to right this wrong since I started serving. Whether they live in a small town or a bigger city, all Michigan students deserve equal funding. This budget finally accomplishes that goal.”