LANSING (AP) – The director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights is turning down a $24,740 bonus that was approved by a state commission in a closed-door vote.

Agustin Arbulu said in a statement Tuesday he appreciates the “vote of confidence” from the Michigan Civil Rights Commission at its September meeting, but says those “taxpayer dollars can be put to better use in programs that directly benefit the people of this state.”

The statement came after the City Pulse newspaper in Lansing recently reported that the bonus was approved in secret Sept. 18 in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Act. The department’s spokeswoman described it as an inadvertent oversight.

The Detroit News reports Arbulu’s annual salary is $152,250. The department investigates civil rights complaints and engages in educational and outreach efforts.

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