LANSING — Today Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the first Executive Directive of her administration, Executive Directive 2019-1, to ensure any imminent threat to public health, safety or welfare is immediately reported, assessed, and investigated by department employees, department directors, and agency heads.
“As governor, one of my principal duties is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all Michigan residents,” said Whitmer. “I am confident that the cabinet I have assembled will put Michiganders first, encourage and empower state employees to speak up if they believe there is a threat to public health and safety, and act promptly on any concerns with my chief compliance officer. This executive directive will ensure that our government works for the people of our state.”
“The people of Michigan deserve peace of mind that their government is working to protect them,” said Liesl Clark, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. “I am committed to having an open-door policy, listening actively, empowering employees to speak up, and reassuring them that they have protections under the law if they believe there are threats to public health and safety. I look forward to working with Governor Whitmer as we build a state government that puts Michiganders first.”
Under the directive, department employees who become aware of an imminent threat to the public health, safety, or welfare must immediately report it to their department director or agency head. If department directors/agency heads determine there is an imminent threat, they must eliminate or mitigate it if they have the resources to do so, and if they don’t, they must notify the governor’s chief compliance officer and request assistance. If a department director/agency head determines that there is no threat to public health, safety or welfare, they must report the reasons for that determination to the governor’s chief compliance officer.
Information related to any threat to Michiganders health, safety, or welfare must be reported objectively and promptly to eliminate any attempt to thwart discovery or obscure or discolor facts. If a department director/agency head believes that a threat is not being addressed adequately, they must share their concerns directly with the Governor. Department directors/agency heads must also remind their employees of applicable protections under The Whistleblowers’ Protection Act and the Whistleblower provisions of the Michigan Civil Service Commission Rules.