Local anti-violence group reaches out and helps young men get jobs
One Baltimore man is ‘pushing for greatness’
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.