MARQUETTE — State Rep. John Kivela (D-Marquette) said today, at a Marquette press conference, that it is time for Gov. Rick Snyder to look into Department of Health and Human Services employees’ complaints about a persistent hostile work environment in the Marquette DHHS office.
Kivela has been aware of the situation since last summer and has been meeting with employees and officials to address the situation. He most recently met in March with officials and employees in both Lansing and Marquette to address the continuing complaints of harassment, bullying and intimidation of employees by managers.
“I have been quietly working behind the scenes since last summer to resolve this deeply troubling situation in our local DHHS office,” said Kivela. “I was assured that changes would be made in the fall and was asked to give time for the impacts to be felt. It became clear in January, however, that nothing has changed. After meetings in March with DHHS officials and employees, I’ve concluded that leadership refuses to address this situation. I am now calling on the governor to look into the problems at this office and take whatever action is necessary to create a proper and safe work environment so that DHHS workers can do their job serving our most vulnerable citizens.”
During the March meetings Kivela heard from employees that the overall hostile work environment has not changed, and they told more stories of employees being intimidated, bullied and harassed. Kivela also continues to receive phone calls from employees, some of whom are afraid to give their names because they fear repercussions.
“No state employee, or any other employee for that matter, should have to work under these conditions,” said Kivela. “I believe in action rather than talk, and that’s why I have been working so hard behind the scenes all these months to fix the problems in our DHHS office. It’s clear now that I can’t do this alone, and that’s why I’m calling on the governor to step in and do what is right and necessary. The toxic atmosphere in the Marquette DHHS office needs to end now, and I will continue working with employees and the governor to see that it does.”