Michigan House votes to subpoena former health director Robert Gordon over departure

A Michigan committee has authorized its chair to subpoena the state's former health director that would require him to testify with regards to his resignation in January.

The Michigan House Oversight Committee voted 6-3 to give it power to subpoena former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon to testify about severance pay he received after he abruptly left his position earlier this year.

The committee said Gordon had refused several invitations to discuss his departure from the department.

Citing a "lack of transparency" being an issue with the state government, Rep. Pat Outman (R-Six Lakes) and five other Republicans on the committee voted in favor of the subpoena. The three Democrats on the committee voted against it.

Former health director Robert Gordon

Gordon first left the department on Jan. 22, announcing the decision on Twitter. The decision raised eyebrows before media reports revealed that he had been paid $155,000 in severance pay.

The payout became the subject of scrutiny because of the hefty sum and the confidentiality regarding the reason Gordon left in the first place. As a requirement of his exit, Gordon would have to drop all claims against the state. However, it's unclear what those claims were.

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In March, both Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Gordon announced the confidentiality clause of his exit would be dropped. That move was done "in the interest of greater transparency."