Hogan’s pick for chief of staff out after severance payout from last state job

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday that his newly appointed chief of staff, Roy McGrath, was resigning.

McGrath’s appointment raised controversy after it was reported that he received a severance package of more than $233,000 when he voluntarily left his previous job at the Maryland Environmental Service.

In his announcement, Hogan said McGrath would step down from the job as chief of staff and accept McGrath’s resignation “with regret.”

In a comment included in Hogan’s announcement, McGrath said, “this entire topic is simply the sad politics of personal destruction” and explained that he was leaving to avoid “unnecessary distractions” from the work of the Hogan administration.

“Most of my career was spent in the private sector, and that’s where I will return,” McGrath said. “I want to thank Governor Hogan for his enthusiastic confidence in me and for this incredible opportunity to have served the people of Maryland.”

The news of the severance package prompted Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones to call on McGrath to return the money.

An oversight hearing on the matter of the payout is scheduled for Tuesday.

McGrath defended the severance arrangement, calling it “standard business practice” on a Facebook post. The MES is an independent state agency and largely funded by revenues from state and local governments.

Roy McGrath is seen at a State House news conference earlier this year. (Courtesy Patrick Siebert/Executive Office of the Governor)

The reports of the severance arrangement come as the state is facing steep drops in revenues, a situation that Hogan pointed out would require difficult choices for state agencies.

The Baltimore Sun first reported news of the payout, and that the board of directors of MES granted it at a meeting that was closed to the public.

Hogan announced that his administration’s chief legislative officer, Keiffer Mitchell, would be stepping into the role of acting chief of staff.

Mitchell is well-known in Annapolis. As a Democrat, he served as a delegate in the Maryland General Assembly and has good relationships with lawmakers in both parties. Mitchell joined the Hogan administration in 2015.

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Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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