Montgomery County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist officially injected himself into the all-Democratic County Council's internal feud yesterday by endorsing the slate comprised of his principal backers.
At a press conference, Gilchrist announced his support for the slate he helped form. Council President Neal Potter, a strong Gilchrist backer, heads the slate, dubbed "United Democrats," and it includes incumbents Ruth Spector, Rose Crenca and Scott Fosler. The slate also includes lobbyist Joan Hatfield, former teachers association President Henry Heller, and sewer commissioner Leonard Teitelbaum.
Gilchrist praised the members of the new council slate for their "sense of mutual respect and common purpose" and angrily denied accusations from the opposing slate that "United Democrats" would be a "rubber stamp" for him.
Council member Esther Gelman, who heads the opposing Democratic slate, countered, "It's absolutely appalling to think that he would intrude into another race, unless he expects to have a rubber stamp government.
"Anybody who picks a slate before the Tuesday filing date must have hand-picked the slate," Gelman charged, adding "If he sent down a resolution saying July 4 was Christmas Day, it would pass with that slate."
Gilchrist said that the "United Democrats" slate was "put together by the council," but said he consulted with them and talked to some members.
Gelman has formed her own slate, but has not unveiled it. It is expected to include council members David Scull and Michael Gudis, as well as former Rockville Mayor William Hanna, Montgomery College board president Jean Ross, Friendship Heights village council president Dr. Alfred Muller and former school board member Thomas B. Israel.
Scull, who had considering running for county executive, quashed that possibility yesterday by filing for reelection to the council.