HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Maryland Governor Larry Hogan named a new Acting Chief of Staff after what some would call a contentious resignation of the previous Chief of Staff.
In a statement released on August 17th, Governor Hogan announced the resignation of his Chief of Staff, Roy McGrath, and immediately named Keiffer Mitchell Jr., Hogan’s former Chief Legislative Officer, to serve as Acting Chief of Staff.
McGrath’s resignation is shrouded in controversy after he was given a severance package from the Maryland Environmental Service when he left to join Hogan’s staff on June 1st, 2020.
McGrath voluntarily left his position as the director of the independent state agency with a severance package worth over $234,000. This equates to one year’s salary of about $233,000 and a $5,250 tuition reimbursement. McGrath was also allowed to keep his work-issued cell phone and laptop.
While the Maryland Environmental Service does not operate through the support of general state tax dollars, many legislators were skeptical of the payout as McGrath voluntarily left his position. According to the United States Department of Labor, severance pay is usually granted to employees upon termination of employment.
On August 15th, Adrienne Jones, Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, who called for McGrath to return the money if he intended to remain in his position as Chief of Staff. McGrath responded by calling the severance “a standard business practice” and the agency said such payments fit “a private sector like pay structure.” He also took to Facebook the next day to respond to Speaker Jones and stated that “with all due respect to Speaker Jones, I’ll gladly return my well-earned, non-taxpayer funded severance when every other executive who has ever received one does too.”
Before his resignation, an oversight hearing was scheduled for August 25th with McGrath and the other members of the Maryland Environmental Service Board of Directors invited to testify.
McGrath released a statement that sited the “sad politics of personal destruction” as the reason for his resignation. He also stated that the state “cannot afford unnecessary distractions from the critical work the governor and his team are doing.”
According to the governor’s spokesman, McGrath will not be receiving a severance package.