“This shows a clear lack of judgment to assume the role to the closest aide to the Governor of the State,” Ferguson and Jones said in a joint statement. “Equally troubling, however, is the role that Maryland Environmental Services played.”
The presiding officers said they have asked the Joint Committee on Fair Practices and State Personnel Oversight to immediately hold hearings to look into why the payment was made, who reviewed it and how to prevent such a payment from happening again in the future.
Charles Glass, the executive director of the Maryland Environmental Service, did not immediately respond to a request for information about McGrath’s salary or comment about the severance package.
Michael Ricci, a spokesman for Hogan (R), said in a text message that the Maryland Environmental Service “is an independent agency, and this was a decision made by the company’s Board.” He added that McGrath makes $233,648 as chief of staff.
McGrath’s severance package was originally reported by the Baltimore Sun.
Hogan announced McGrath’s appointment on May 26.
Two days later, the board of directors of the Maryland Environmental Service held an online meeting and, according to its minutes, unanimously approved a motion to pay McGrath a severance package equal to one year’s salary and a $5,250 tuition reimbursement, and to allow him to keep a laptop and cellphone that were issued by the agency.
The Maryland Environmental Service is a nonprofit business unit of the state that was established in 1970. It handles environmental and public-works projects, including dredging operations and building, designing and operating landfills.
The minutes do not say how much McGrath earned per year, but fiscal 2021 budget documents show his salary in fiscal 2020 was $233,647.
When Hogan named McGrath as his chief of staff, he described him in a statement as an “experienced public and private sector leader with a proven track record of managing at every level of government and a passionate commitment to public service.”
McGrath, who worked on Hogan’s 2014 campaign for governor, immediately joined Hogan’s administration as a senior adviser after Hogan was elected. He later became deputy chief of staff and, after that, the liaison to the Maryland Board of Public Works.
He was appointed chief executive and chairman of the Maryland Environmental Service board of directors in December 2016. Hogan nominated McGrath to the post, which was approved by the Senate.
Since March, McGrath also has served on the governor’s coronavirus response team.