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Hogan proposes Environmental Service reforms amid former Chief of Staff fallout

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Posted at 4:04 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 16:13:44-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Governor Larry Hogan on Wednesday proposed legislation aimed at reforming the Maryland Environmental Service (MES).

The push comes amid last year's fallout surrounding former MES CEO, Roy McGrath, who reportedly received a year's salary in severance pay before transferring over and becoming the Governor's Chief of Staff.

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

At the time, Hogan ordered an audit of the agency and vowed to address the issue to prevent a similar issue from happening in the future.

RELATED: Hogan orders audit of Maryland Environmental Service amid severance pay controversy

Hogan's newest effort would require head MES officials to be appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate.

Under the proposal, the agency's Board of Directors would increase to 12 members, to include the Department of Budget and Management Secretary, the State Treasurer, an ethics expert, and a member of the private sector.

The MES director would remain a board member, but not have voting powers. Meanwhile the deputy director's position as an officer would be nixed.

Currently no term limits are imposed on board members. Hogan's legislation would cap it at two 4-year terms.

The MES Director would have to undergo an annual performance evaluation conducted by the Board, with the board themselves being independently assessed every three years.

Those on the board would be subject to a new conflict of interest policy similar to the University of Maryland Medical System, following the Healthy Holly scandal involving former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.

An audit would be conducted that would target any misused funds. MES would also have to provide a report by December 31 on policy recommendations regarding reimbursements, severance pay, bonuses, and travel.

Read the entire bill here.