Louis W. Sullivan, secretary of health and human services, on Tuesday reversed his decision to forfeit severance pay earned during his previous job as a medical school president.
In a statement issued by his office, Sullivan said he will get $215,000 in severance benefits that had been included in his contract as president of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.
Sullivan had previously decided to forgo the money because of concerns about potential conflicts of interest with his connection to the medical school, which receives federal grants. He made that decision despite the Office of Government Ethics’ informal approval of the severance pay as money earned before he came to the federal government.
In the statement, Sullivan said: “I have made this agreement in the full faith that it in no way presents ethical difficulty, or appearance of difficulty, with regard to my services as HHS secretary.”
Sullivan is taking an unpaid leave of absence as a professor of medicine at Morehouse.