The top health official in Michigan has abruptly resigned as the state plans to reopen restaurants in the coming weeks, after months of strict lockdown orders.
“Today, I am resigning from the Whitmer Administration. It’s been an honor to serve alongside wonderful colleagues. I look forward to the next chapter,” Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon said Friday on Twitter.
Today, I am resigning from the Whitmer Administration. It's been an honor to serve alongside wonderful colleagues. I look forward to the next chapter.
— Robert Gordon (@robertmgordon) January 22, 2021
The timing of Gordon’s resignation is curious. Indoor dining is set to reopen in Michigan on February 1, a move that was announced just hours before his resignation Friday and required his sign off, according to Michigan Live.
Associated Press said that Gordon handled most of the state’s lockdown measures after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) did not have the authority to impose many of the COVID rules that she had imposed.
Almost immediately after Gordon’s resignation, Whitmer named his successor as Elizabeth Hertzel, the Health and Human Services Department’s Senior Chief Deputy Director for Administration. She was previously the state’s second-highest ranking health official.
“Elizabeth Hertel has dedicated her career to protecting Michiganders’ public health, and she is uniquely prepared to lead MDHHS as we continue working together to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” Whitmer said in a statement.
“She has served across multiple administrations from both parties, and knows how to bring people together to get things done,” the statement continued. “In her service to the state, she has proven time and again that she will do everything in her power to ensure the health and safety of Michigan families everywhere. Ending the COVID-19 pandemic is going to take hard work and partnership between state government, businesses, and organizations across the state. I know that Elizabeth is ready and eager to start working with partners everywhere to get it done.”
Hertel said she was eager to work with Whitmer “to keep Michiganders safe and healthy” as the state rolls out the COVID vaccine en masse.
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