The Detroit News reported that Gordon, whose surprise resignation occurred in January, took home “$155,506 in a separation deal that also required the two sides to maintain confidentiality about the circumstances that led” to him leaving: “The agreement is the clearest evidence yet that the split between Gordon, a central figure in the state’s response to COVID-19, and Whitmer was not amicable, and it shows that the Democratic administration used taxpayer funds to ease his departure.”
In January, Whitmer awkwardly tiptoed through questions about Gordon’s resignation, which he announced on Twitter: “Today, I am resigning from the Whitmer Administration,” Gordon wrote on a Friday afternoon. “It’s been an honor to serve alongside wonderful colleagues,” he continued, without thanking or acknowledging the governor. “I look forward to the next chapter.”
The next week, Whitmer struggled to answer questions about the bureaucrat who played a pivotal role in the state’s coronavirus lockdown strategy. Asked whether she had asked for Gordon’s resignation, Whitmer read from notes: “I want to begin by thanking Robert Gordon and [new] Director [Elizabeth] Hertel did as well. To lead this department in unimaginable circumstances, it has been grueling.”
But another reporter asked her to “describe the relationship you had with Robert Gordon.”
“I don’t think I have anything to add with regard to my comments about, you know, the former director. I shared with you that I wish him well. I’m grateful for his leadership and we’ve got a wonderful new director at the department,” Whitmer responded.
A third reporter asked again about Gordon. “Did you ask for Director Gordon’s resignation and was this expected at all?”
“I’ve answered that question. I think the only thing I would say is, you know, it’s been a grueling couple of years and changes in administrations happen,” she said. “I wish Robert Gordon the very best. I truly do and I am incredibly grateful for the hard work and the way that he showed up every single day over these last two years,” Whitmer said.
“Michigan taxpayers deserve to know the circumstances surrounding the resignation of Mr. Gordon in the middle of a public health crisis. Why is Gov. Whitmer refusing to explain this secret deal?” Ted Goodman, communications director for the Michigan Republican Party, wrote in a statement.