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Whitmer asks why civil rights chief is still on the job

Agustin Arbulu
Michigan Civil Rights Commission

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to know why state civil rights director Agustin Arbulu is still leading the department. That’s after an inquiry determined Arbulu created a hostile work environment with remarks he made about women and about a gay employee.

In a letter to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, Governor Whitmer demanded an explanation why Agustin Arbulu remains in charge of the civil rights department.

In the letter, Whitmer says she has “serious concerns” about Arbulu’s ability to continue to lead the department.

The governor does not hire or fire the civil rights director. That’s the purview of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, which held a closed-door meeting on Monday where the decision was made to reprimand Arbulu, but not to fire him.

Whitmer has asked for a transcript and any recordings of that session.

Arbulu issued his own statement apologizing, and said he’ll use the experience to become “a better person and a better leader.” His discipline includes training about appropriate conduct.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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