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Hogan orders audit of Maryland Environmental Service amid severance pay controversy

Governor Larry Hogan
Posted at 1:08 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 14:26:27-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Following the controversy surrounding his former Chief of Staff, Roy McGrath, Governor Larry Hogan has ordered an audit of the Maryland Environmental Service.

McGrath was appointed as Hogan's Chief of Staff at the end of May and resigned last week.

Prior to that since December 2016, he'd been serving as CEO of the Maryland Environmental Service.

When he transitioned over to the Governor's mansion, McGrath reportedly received a year's salary equaling $233,647.00 in severance pay along with $5,250 in tuition reimbursement.

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The payout caught the attention of State Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones, both who called for hearings on the matter.

In his order Tuesday, Hogan indicated the agency may have been making similar payouts over a long period of time to its outgoing top executives, but that he was unaware of it.

“It has recently come to light that the Maryland Environmental Service has a longstanding practice of paying large bonuses, expense reimbursements, and severance packages to its top executives. This is something no normal state-operated agency should or would ever grant," Hogan said in a statement."

Hogan also claimed to have played no role and having no knowledge of McGrath's payments.

“To be clear, I did not approve, recommend, or have any involvement whatsoever in any of these decisions made by the board of directors of MES with respect to the former director Roy McGrath or any other individual," said Hogan.

READ MORE: Lawmakers call for hearings on severance for governor's aide

The agency's new acting director, Charles Glass, has been tapped to review its policies and structure.

But Hogan says it's really the state legislature's responsibility to conduct an audit, because after all it was them in 1993 who established the agency's current oversight setup.

Regardless, Hogan says he's directed the Department of Budget and Management to immediately conduct its own audit.