Baltimore Sun

Lo­cal anti-vi­o­lence group reaches out and helps young men get jobs

One Bal­ti­more man is ‘push­ing for great­ness’

- By Yvonne Wenger Business · U.S. News · Baltimore · Massachusetts · Everytown for Gun Safety · Maryland · Bob Knight · Republican Party (United States) · Baltimore County · Democratic Party (United States) · Robert Ehrlich · Bob Barr · Ted Raimi

Since March, seven young Bal­ti­more men — all of them on a list to get help from a lo­cal an­tiv­i­o­lence group — were killed be­fore they got the as­sis­tance they needed. But work­ers from Roca were able to reach and help about 180 other young men in the past year, ac­cord­ing to the group’s an­nual re­port re­leased Thurs­day.

The re­port de­tails Roca’s ef­forts to show the men how to be­gin heal­ing from life’s trau­mas, help them learn ways to con­trol their emo­tions, and then con­nect them with jobs that could keep them on track.

Roca, which means “rock” in Span­ish, came to Bal­ti­more two years ago af­ter phi­lan­thropists, busi­nesses and elected of­fi­cials, frus­trated that the city once again was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing more than 300 homi­cides a year, heard about the success the group had in Mas­sachusetts.

The lo­cal group raised $17 mil­lion and Roca was given four years to try what some con­sid­ered a rad­i­cal ap­proach us­ing ex­ten­sive out­reach, be­hav­ior ther­apy and job train­ing. With a $3 mil­lion bud­get for 2020 — 29% from city tax dol­lars — Roca is start­ing its third year in Bal­ti­more.

The non­profit also re­cently used a $100,000 Every­town for Gun Safety grant to hire a spe­cial

nas or­der them to pro­duce doc­u­ments re­lated to two dozen sub­jects, in­clud­ing McGrath’s sev­er­ance pay­ments, ex­penses and bonuses, as well as McGrath’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the gov­er­nor about his tran­si­tion from MES to the State House.

McGrath’s lawyer, Bruce Marcus, de­clined to com­ment on the sub­poena, other than to say: “We’ll look at and digest it over the next cou­ple of days.”

Sher­ring did not re­spond to a voice­mail mes­sage seek­ing com­ment.

It took law­mak­ers sev­eral weeks to draft and is­sue the sub­poe­nas, as they had to find an in­de­pen­dent law firm to han­dle the task. The Mary­land at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice typ­i­cally would han­dle the sub­poe­nas, but lawyers in dif­fer­ent parts of that of­fice rep­re­sent law­mak­ers as well as Mary­land En­vi­ron­men­tal Ser­vice of­fi­cials, a po­ten­tial con­flict of in­ter­est.

The Gen­eral Assem­bly hired Ward B. Coe of the law firm Gal­lagher Evelius & Jones in Bal­ti­more to as­sist in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“The more the Joint Com­mit­tee has looked into this mat­ter, the more ques­tions have emerged, and we will make sure all Mary­lan­ders have con­fi­dence in this in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­ing han­dled in a fair and non­par­ti­san man­ner that seeks re­sults,” Coe said in a state­ment.

State law­mak­ers are try­ing to un­ravel de­tails of how McGrath ma­neu­vered to get the pay­out for his vol­un­tary de­par­ture from the en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vice. The for­mer MES deputy di­rec­tor and three board mem­bers tes­ti­fied that McGrath led them to be­lieve that Ho­gan ap­proved of the deal.

Ho­gan has dis­puted that, saying he knew only gen­er­ally that McGrath had fi­nan­cial is­sues to work out be­fore join­ing the gov­er­nor’s team.

The last time the Gen­eral Assem­bly used sub­poe­nas was in 2005 and 2006, dur­ing the term of the last Repub­li­can gov­er­nor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Leg­is­la­tors formed a spe­cial com­mit­tee that in­ves­ti­gated whether Ehrlich’s team — in­clud­ing Ho­gan, who was the ap­point­ments sec­re­tary — went too far in re­plac­ing state em­ploy­ees with loy­al­ists. Ho­gan was among those sub­poe­naed in that in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and he tes­ti­fied that he did not co­or­di­nate fir­ings across state agen­cies.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion ended with­out any finding of le­gal wrong­do­ing, but law­mak­ers even­tu­ally passed laws of­fer­ing fur­ther pro­tec­tions for state work­ers.

Coe was the at­tor­ney who ad­vised that com­mit­tee, which made him an at­trac­tive can­di­date to as­sist again.

House of Del­e­gates Speaker Adri­enne A. Jones, a Bal­ti­more County Demo­crat who co-chaired the Ehrlich per­son­nel in­ves­ti­ga­tion, said in a state­ment that she’s con­fi­dent Coe will help law­mak­ers “leave no stone un­turned.”

“He un­der­stands the need to get to the facts of this sit­u­a­tion, with­out al­low­ing pol­i­tics to dic­tate the way this in­ves­ti­ga­tion goes,” Se­nate Pres­i­dent Bill Fer­gu­son, a Bal­ti­more Demo­crat, said in a state­ment.

 ?? KENNETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN ?? Ed­ward Brooks, 25, has been with the anti-vi­o­lence pro­gram Roca since 2019. The pro­gram serves at-risk young men in Bal­ti­more.
KENNETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN Ed­ward Brooks, 25, has been with the anti-vi­o­lence pro­gram Roca since 2019. The pro­gram serves at-risk young men in Bal­ti­more.

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