MDHHS Director Robert Gordon

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon.

(The Center Square) – On Friday, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon announced his resignation via Twitter. He will be replaced by Elizabeth Hertel.

“Today, I am resigning from the Whitmer Administration,” He tweeted. “It's been an honor to serve alongside wonderful colleagues. I look forward to the next chapter.”

A request for explanation resignation was referred from MDHHS to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office, which hasn’t yet been answered.

The announcement coincided with an announcement of loosened restrictions allowing restaurants, movie theaters, and bowling alleys to have indoor dining starting on Feb. 1.

Gordon initially enacted a “three-week pause” of indoor dining on Nov. 17, which actually lasted 75 days.

That order was extended a third time on Jan. 15, even though the metrics for reopening indoor dining had already been met.

Bars and restaurants have begged to reopen, while other entertainment facilities have sued the state.

Whitmer appointed Elizabeth Hertel to succeed Gordon. Hertel had served as MDHHS senior chief deputy director for administration. Hertel is married to state Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-East Lansing. 

Sen. Hertel, who serves as the minority vice chair on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Community Health and Human Services, said he's requested to be removed to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. 

“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. 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.” 

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on and Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.