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Governor, former MDHHS Director amend severance deal

Gordon and Whitmer
Posted at 11:00 AM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 11:02:00-04

LANSING, Mich (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office says the state and her former health director have amended his $155,000 severance deal to remove a confidentiality clause that drew criticism.

Robert Gordon abruptly resigned in January, the day he issued a coronavirus order allowing restaurants to reopen for indoor dining after a months-long closure.

WHERE IT STARTED: MDHHS Director resigns

RELATED: Robert Gordon addresses resignation

A month later, he signed a separation agreement in which the sides agreed to maintain confidentiality regarding his departure. The parties agreed Wednesday to waive the confidentiality provision "in the interest of greater transparency," according to the governor's office.

In March, Whitmer signed an executive order outlining rules for future separation agreements, including a prohibition on restricting the parties from publicly acknowledging the deal.

READ: Governor signs off on standards for severance deals

According to MDHHS, in the past 6 years, only Gordon's severance deal came without a confidentiality clause.

RELATED: Recent history of severance deals for state government employees

Many Republican state lawmakers the Governor's use of silent severance deals harmed the public's trust in her administation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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