Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued her first executive directive as Michigan’s governor. The directive requires state department employees to report threats to public health, safety or welfare up the chain of command, and it requires those threats to be investigated.
“We thought this was an important way to lead on the first day. To tell state employees we listen to them, and public health is paramount to anyone’s ego, to anyone’s agenda, to any one department’s arena,” says Whitmer.
Whitmer signed the directive while flanked by employees of the Department of Environmental Quality. The DEQ has faced reports of low morale and came under the microscope in the wake of the Flint water crisis.
Whitmer says this isn’t about just one department.
“But I do think that there are a few examples that would tell you that when there isn’t that upward communication, where it doesn’t get to decision makers, that people can get hurt in the process,” she says.
Whitmer says requiring people to report potential threats up the chain of command will encourage and empower state employees to speak up.