ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Governor Larry Hogan's new chief of staff Roy McGrath resigned Monday, days after it was learned he accepted a severance package from another state job to join the governor's office.
McGrath, who began working in the governor's office on June 1, previously served as the CEO and chairman of the Maryland Environmental Service Board of Directors. The agency describes itself as a "not-for-profit business unit of the state of Maryland."
"It is with regret that I have accepted Roy McGrath's resignation as chief of staff," Hogan said in a statement. "Roy has been a deeply valued member of our administration, and our state is better for his dedicated service. I recognize that this was a difficult decision for Roy, but I understand and respect his reasons for making this decision. I have always known Roy to be someone of the highest character, and I wish him well in his future endeavors."
Hogan announced McGrath's appointment on May 26. On May 28, the board unanimously approved paying McGrath a severance of one year's salary plus an additional $5,250 to cover tuition expenses. It also allowed him to keep using his agency-issued laptop and cell phone.
A number of lawmakers said the severance pay raised questions about a possible conflict of interest.
"The Joint Committee on Fair Practices and State Personnel Oversight will examine the decisions and policies that enabled this severance payment to occur and to ensure that there is proper accountability and transparency in the expenditures of state and local funds by this agency," a statement from Sen. Clarence Lam and Del. Erek Barron, the committee's co-chairs, said.
McGrath released a statement on his resignation Monday, saying, "this entire topic is simply the sad politics of personal destruction," but that "we cannot afford unnecessary distractions" from the governor's work.
"For this reason, I have advised the governor that I am exiting state service," he said, adding he will return to the private sector.
Hogan named chief legislative officer Keiffer Mitchell as acting chief of staff.
"Keiffer is a widely respected leader who has served our administration with distinction since day one. He has a proven track record for bringing people together and working across the aisle, and I thank him for stepping up to serve at this important time," he added.
Keiffer said he is "humbled" the governor put his trust in him.
"We have a first-rate team that is working around the clock at such a critical moment in our history. Together, we will continue to change Maryland for the better," he said in a statement Monday.
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