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Maryland Gov. Hogan’s ex-chief of staff, Roy McGrath, to testify in payout inquiry next week

Roy McGrath, who resigned as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s top aide after revelations about payout from a prior state job, is scheduled to appear at a public hearing next week.

McGrath will appear Dec. 16 before a General Assembly committee that’s investigating the lump sum of more than $238,000 he received when departing the Maryland Environmental Service on May 30 to become the Republican governor’s chief of staff.

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McGrath lasted 11 weeks in the job, until The Baltimore Sun reported on the payout and he resigned from the governor’s office.

McGrath initially defended his payout, which he described as “severance,” as well as bonuses and significant expense reimbursements he received from the Maryland Environmental Service. The environmental service is an independent state agency that largely runs on tax dollars from local and state government agencies that hire MES to do public works projects.

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After a few Facebook posts and emails to reporters, McGrath has not discussed the issue in months. He declined requests to appear before the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Fair Practices and State Personnel Oversight, and eventually lawmakers voted to subpoena McGrath to compel him to testify. Lawyers for both sides have been negotiating McGrath’s appearance for weeks.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's former chief of staff, Roy McGrath, shown here in April, is scheduled to appear before state lawmakers on Dec. 16. Lawmakers are investigating a six-figure payout McGrath received when he left an independent state agency to become Hogan's top aide.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's former chief of staff, Roy McGrath, shown here in April, is scheduled to appear before state lawmakers on Dec. 16. Lawmakers are investigating a six-figure payout McGrath received when he left an independent state agency to become Hogan's top aide. (Pamela Wood)

Neither McGrath nor his attorney, Bruce Marcus, could be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Lawmakers have been investigating how and why McGrath was approved to receive the payout when he voluntarily left the environmental service, and whether it was appropriate. Some MES board members testified that they believe McGrath misled them by implying that Hogan had endorsed the payout. The service’s former deputy director also testified that she had reservations about the deal.

Hogan has said he was generally aware that McGrath was working out financial matters before starting the chief of staff position, but he has denied having specific knowledge of McGrath’s payout.

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Before lawmakers hear from McGrath, they’ll first get to question one of McGrath’s associates, Matthew Sherring. Sherring held the title of director of operations at the Maryland Environmental Service and previously worked with McGrath when both were at a trade group for drugstores in Washington, D.C.

Sherring often traveled with McGrath and appears regularly in McGrath’s expense reports. Sherring also made a payment of more than $14,000 to Harvard University to cover tuition for an online course for McGrath, and later sought reimbursement from MES.

Sherring also was subpoenaed after declining to testify, and is now scheduled to appear before lawmakers Thursday. Sherring’s attorney confirmed his client’s forthcoming appearance but declined to comment further.

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