ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan is calling for a number of changes at the Maryland Environmental Service a month after news broke that his then-chief of staff accepted a sizable severance package to leave the quasi-governmental agency to join the governor’s office.
In a letter to State Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones, Hogan wrote “it is clear that there are issues regarding the governance structure, oversight, and management” of the agency, which describes itself as a “not-for-profit business unit of the state of Maryland.”
Due to the agency’s “persistent systemic issues,” the governor wrote that an audit is underway and called for “substantial changes” to its structure, possibly either returning it fully to state government or spinning it off into the private sector.
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In a statement announcing he was stepping down, McGrath said that while “this entire topic is simply the sad politics of personal destruction,” it proved to be an unnecessary distraction from the governor’s work.
Days before McGrath joined Hogan’s office, the MES board unanimously approved paying him 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.
Following McGrath’s resignation, Hogan called for an audit of the agency’s practices, citing issues of the department paying large bonuses, expense reimbursements and severance packages to its top executives.
Charles Glass, the agency’s new director, removed multiple board members and another resigned, reducing the board’s size to the point where it could not have a quorum to conduct business, Hogan wrote in his letter.