House committee holds hearing on separation agreement subpoena power

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan House Oversight Committee held a hearing Wednesday morning to discuss proposed legislation that would give it more power to find out why other state officials leave their jobs.

==Watch a replay of the hearing above.==

If passed, the bills would grant the Oversight Committee subpoena power to see employee separation and severance agreements, ban the governor from denying opens records requests when a state of emergency is in effect and limit severance pay for government workers.

The legislation being considered by the Republican-led committee was created after the unceremonious resignation of former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon on January.

After he left without explanation and with the governor refusing to say whether she asked for his resignation, it came to light that he had received an unusual $155,000 severance payment and that his separation included a confidentiality clause. Republicans called it hush money.

In response, Whitmer ordered additional transparency for separation agreements. While she and Gordon later waived the confidentiality clause, neither has said outright what led to his departure.

Gordon was replaced as MDHHS director by Elizabeth Hertel.

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