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Letter from the Director - July 2021

Dear Colleagues:

I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to the members of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission who have allowed me to continue to serve you as Interim Executive Director. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with all of you on some of the most important issues facing the state and country. It is a great honor.

If I am permanently appointed to the position of Executive Director, one of my first actions will be to schedule one-on-one meetings with every member of the MDCR team. I want to hear from everyone - on what is working and what is not, your ideas for ways we can expand our effectiveness and reach, and what leadership can do to help improve the morale of the MDCR team. If I am fortunate enough to continue in this role, I will look forward to learning from each of you.

Of more immediate concern is a sizable backlog of complaints that we must work together to address. Clearing that backlog is one of my top priorities over the next several months. I will bring in additional resources to help us move complaints to conclusion while making sure we continue to protect the integrity of our investigations and the rights of all parties.

As you know, some State of Michigan employees will return to their offices beginning this week. Which staff will return and under what conditions and hybrid schedules will vary from department to department. At this time, we will continue to operate remotely where feasible and efficient. The current plan is working well for the department, and an overwhelming majority of staff want to continue working remote. Staff may continue to come into the office on an as needed basis or with a set schedule if you have approval from your manager. All employees will be required to fill out the Remote Work Agreement once the OSE makes it available online. Deputy Director Mary Engelman will update everyone as soon as the form is finalized and accessible.

In my short time here, I have been impressed with the atmosphere of mutual respect and the collaborative mindset of the MDCR team. I encourage all of us to continue to prioritize courtesy, tolerance, equity and professionalism in our every interaction with our colleagues, our partners and the public we serve.

John E. Johnson, Jr.