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UPDATE: Gov. Whitmer signs executive order creating COVID-19 Office of Accountability, provides COVID-19 briefing

Posted at 6:33 AM, May 05, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order creating the Michigan COVID-19 Office of Accountability within the State Budget Office.

The governor's office said the Accountability Office will give oversight to all spending to address the crisis and must report regularly on its work to the governor and the state budget director.

“Protecting the people of Michigan and lowering the chance of a second wave has demanded flexibility and decisiveness, and has also required funds from the state treasury, philanthropic sources, and the federal government,” said Governor Whitmer. “Michiganders have the right to expect that state government will be responsible stewards of their resources, especially in a time of crisis. I will continue to work around the clock to ensure these resources are spent wisely, in compliance with the law, and in a transparent and accountable manner.”

The governor's office said the Department of Technology, Management and Budget will designate a Chief COVID-19 Accountability Officer to lead the Accountability Office.

Gov. Whitmer's office said all state departments, agencies, committees, commissioners and officers must give to the Accountability Office any necessary assistance they require.

On Monday afternoon, the governor also held a press conference, providing an update on the state's response to COVID-19.

She was joined by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and MDHHS Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

During her press conference, she said the state has enough Personal Protective Equipment to last for several weeks.

She said the state has begun loosening some restrictions on gardening and residential and commercial construction is set to reopen on May 7. The stay home offer will remain in place until at least May 15.

The governor said the number of cases of coronavirus in the state are beginning to plateau.

Gov. Whitmer said however when social distancing practices are dropped, that's when you begin to see a second wave of the virus.

As the weather warms up and people begin to congregate outdoors, the governor said in regards to closing state parks, she will have more information on that later this week.

Tuesday, May 5 is an election day in the state of Michigan and Gov. Whitmer said she has signed an executive order urging state residents to state home and vote absentee. You can view that executive order in full here.

Secretary Benson spoke at the press conference Monday afternoon to give state residents an update on voting in the May 5 election.

Benson said she gave communities the choice to postpone or withdraw items from their ballots. She said all registered voters in jurisdictions holding elections were mailed absentee ballots with directions on how to submit them.

In each community holding an election, one voting location in the jurisdiction will be open and equipped with PPE for voters and election workers to use, Benson said.

She said more than 140,000 have returned their ballots by mail.

"We have shown we can protect your health and your right to vote," Benson said.

For more information on the May 5 election, click here.

For more information on the state's response to the coronavirus along with available resources for you and your family, click here.

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