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Michigan House committee to subpoena Robert Gordon over separation agreement

Robert Gordon
Posted at 11:54 AM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 11:54:13-04

(WSYM) — A Michigan House committee voted to issue a subpoena to former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon ove his separation agreement.

The House Oversight Committee voted 6-3 along party lines to subpoena Gordon, who left his job as director in January.

Related: Ex-health director gets $155,000 in separation agreement

It was later revealed that Gordon was given $155,506 in a separation agreement that required both he and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to maintain confidentiality about his resignation.

Related: MDHHS: Only severance deal requiring confidentiality is Gordon’s

According to the subpoena, the committee is seeking Gordon's testimony of the separation agreement

In March, Whitmer and Gordon both agreed to waive the confidentiality clause for "the sake of greater transparency."

Amidst pressure from Republican lawmakers to ban the practice of using non-disclosure agreements, Whitmer issued a directive that protected the practice going forward.

Related: Whitmer, Gordon agree to waive confidentiality clause in $155K separation agreement

Gordon was asked to appear before the House Oversight Committee to testify. In lieu of testimony, Gordon sent a letter to House Oversight Committee Chair Steven Johnson.

In the letter, Gordon acknowledged there were "reasonable" disagreements about policy issues during his tenure as MDHHS director. He described the disagreements as "healthy," as the stakes were "life and death."

Related: Whitmer says severance deals are common, but other top staff left without them

"The evidence is clear that Governor Whitmer's actions have saved thousands of lives," Gordon said. "I was honored to play a part in that work."

Because he sent the letter, the House voted to subpoena him instead.