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Former Courser, Gamrat staffer describes “hostile, untenable work environment”

Aug 17, 2015

Josh Cline, a former staffer for Reps. Courser and Gamrat, spoke with reporters on Monday at his attorney’s office in Royal Oak.
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

A former staffer for embattled state representatives Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, and Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, is speaking out against his former bosses.

Courser and Gamrat are accused of using public resources to cover up an affair. That includes attempting to involve their publicly-funded staff, which they shared at the time.

Josh Cline held a press conference at his attorney’s office in Royal Oak on Monday. He said he quit his job because the lawmakers created a hostile work environment and required him to “turn a blind eye to unethical behavior.”

Cline says he confronted the two about their behavior in the workplace.

“I suggested that they should adopt and enforce professional and personal boundaries. They quickly dismissed my concerns and impressed upon me that, as a mere staffer, such a suggestion was not my place,” he said.

Cline claimed he also approached and got no help from state House Speaker Kevin Cotter’s, R-Mt. Pleasant, office.

“I was unable to get a good night’s rest,” he said. “I was constantly on edge and began to feel increasing anxiety. I brought my concerns to the attention of members of (state House Speaker Kevin Cotter’s) office, but I felt that there was no relief forthcoming.”

“It is not an easy task to choose integrity over a paycheck to support my family,” said Cline.

“Now, having chosen integrity over continued employment in a hostile and untenable work environment – in which I was required to turn a blind eye to unethical behavior by the offices of Representative Courser and Representative Gamrat – I am confident that I did the right thing.”

Courser and Gamrat claim they fired Cline and two other staffers because they were incompetent.

Courser is accusing Cline and the other former staffers of aiding a blackmailer trying to get him to resign. Cline denies that accusation.

The nonpartisan state House Business Office is investigating the scandal.