News of the outcome concerning the search for Roy McGrath came Monday night as a shock.
Roy was a colleague over 20 years ago. We reconnected when he began frequent trips to the Eastern Shore as the head of the Maryland Environmental Service (MES). At no time over two decades could I have imagined an outcome like the one resulting in his death yesterday as a fugitive from justice.
For a time, Roy chose to become more engaged in activities on the Eastern Shore. MES serves the Eastern Shore in many ways from the rebuilding of Poplar Island to recycling. There are employees here in our communities and community engagement was something Roy sought.
He stepped away from MES to become Governor Hogan’s chief of staff, leaving that office when he found himself caught in what he always described as an unfair series of attacks surrounding his tenure at MES and his departure.
While there are surely facts to be discovered, I found myself thinking about this tragedy the way the aviation community thinks about aircraft accidents. As a pilot for over five decades, one of the things I learned was that there was never just one cause for a tragic outcome. Furthermore, there is usually a case to be made that if just one or two elements along a tragic path had occurred differently, the tragedy could have been avoided.
I feel that way about Roy and the path he was on. He always presented himself as someone at the top of his game. Over many conversations, it was clear he was proud of the business-like way he was running MES.
If only he had fostered more allies inside.
If only upon his departure he had rejected a separation payment.
If only the board of MES had decided such a payment was unwarranted.
If only Roy, who never wavered in suggesting he was innocent of all charges, could have had his day in court before a judge and jury.
If only he had not fled from the trial before it began.
The path Roy chose and decisions he and others made lead to his death. I just cannot help but believe this could have turned out differently if just one or two factors could have been altered.
My thoughts are with Roy’s wife and family. It is a sad day, a sad loss, and regrettable that justice in this matter will be denied the chance to be done.
Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore.