The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration withdrew a fine it levied against the City of Port Huron after the municipality threatened to depose the agency director.
MIOSHA penalized the city $6,300 after the state department claimed the city violated Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) executive orders imposing tight restrictions on residents.
The city’s threat to depose MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman came after “an hours-long deposition in which an inspector admitted to destroying emails and notes related to a citation against the city,” the Detroit News reported.
City manager James Freed disputed the notion that the city was guilty of violations and even if it was, should not be penalized since the basis of the fines — Whitmer’s orders — were ruled unconstitutional.
According to the paper, the city spent $15,000 to fight the $6,300 fine, which was imposed after Inspector Matthew Hartman alleged the governor’s orders were not being followed.
“My heart breaks for all the small businesses and mom-and-pops that didn’t have an expert legal team, who didn’t have the resources to put MIOSHA under oath,” Freed said.
During the city’s deposition of Hartman, the inspector said his notes related to the case were no longer available because he “burned them,” and “destroyed” emails from his supervisor related to the matter.
Throughout 2020 and into 2021, despite Whitmer’s orders being overturned, MIOSHA continued touting its targeting of Michigan businesses.
In a February 2021 press release, MIOSHA identified another 16 businesses it hit while they were trying to navigate Whitmer’s ongoing orders.
The agency fined Bloxsom Roofing and Siding Company, Bush Brothers Asphalt Paving, Inc., Multi-Shores Development, L.L.C., Allied Gutter Co., Spartan Precision Machining Inc., among others, for allegedly not “developing and implementing a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan.”
In addition to the direct fines on businesses, Whitmer’s lockdowns have been linked to widespread economic impact according to numerous studies.
Internet gaming platform Spider-Solitaire Challenge found 54 percent of study respondents in Michigan reported suffering from “pandemic brain,” which it described as “a decline in your cognitive abilities” during the time in-person learning was banned, businesses were ordered closed, and religious services were restricted.
Furthermore, online real estate website isoldmyhouse.com found a growing number of individuals moved back in with their parents.
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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Star News Network. Follow Cooper on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration construction worker” by Granger Construction Company.