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Rep. Calley takes action to give House panel subpoena power to look into severance agreements
RELEASE|April 20, 2021
Contact: Julie Calley

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.

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