MoCo school board member’s D.C. hotel charges broke no rules, official says

It’s only about seven miles from the Washington Hilton in Northwest D.C. to Board of Education District 4 in southeast Montgomery County, represented by Christopher Barclay.

But Barclay was within school system rules when he charged taxpayers more than $1,400 for a pair of two-night stays while attending conferences at the hotel in 2013 and earlier this year, according to a schools official.

“There is no MCPS policy that would forbid a board member from staying in a hotel in Washington, D.C.,” schools spokesman Dana Tofig said in an e-mail Friday.

Expense records show that Barclay, a candidate for the open County Council seat in District 5 (school board and councilman districts are not the same) reimbursed the school system for nearly $1,500 in unauthorized purchases since 2012, including restaurant meals and purchases from an online travel site.

But Barclay also used his board-issued credit card for a $745 charge covering two nights with room service at the Washington Hilton on Feb. 13 and 14. According to receipts, he was attending an event sponsored by the National School Boards Association.

Barclay also charged $681.09 for two nights at the same hotel in January 2013, records show, for a meeting of the Federal Relations Network, another school boards association program.

It’s not known if other Montgomery school board members stayed overnight. Barclay, a member of the Board of Education’s Fiscal Management Committee, has yet to return phone or e-mail messages requesting comment.

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.
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