A spokesman for the Montgomery County NAACP branch last night accused a member of the County Board of Education of using her position improperly to obtain a school job for a political supporter.
The accusation was made by NAACP public information officer Hanley Norment during a portion of a regular board meeting devoted to comments from the public. Norment said a board member pressured school officials to give Clarence E. Henson a counselor's job at Fairland Elementary School in Silver Spring.
Norment did not identify the board member in his presentation, but said later she is Suzanne Peyser. Peyser denied exerting pressure for Henson's hiring and declined further comment, saying personnel matters should only be discussed in an executive (closed) session of the board.
Board member Marian Greenblatt called the accusation outrageous and a "political ploy" by EDPAC, the political action committee supporting four liberal candidates for board seats. NAACP President Roscoe Nix is an EDPAC backer.
A motion by board member Blair Ewing to investigate the accusation failed for lack of a second. Board President Eleanor Zappone then said the issue belongs "more properly in executive session" and the subject was dropped.
Henson, who was not present at the meeting and could not be reached for comment, became the subject of election campaign controversy last week when the NAACP charged that he had misrepresented himself on the letterhead of a conservative political group. That group, Montgomery Citizens for Serious Education, is backing two conservative incumbents and two self-styled moderates. Peyser, who is not up for reelection this year, is a member of the conservative majority that has ruled the board for four years.
On the letterhead Henson was listed as an NAACP member and a former staff assistant to former D. C. Mayor Walter Washington. The president of the Howard County NAACP, where Henson claimed membership, said Henson joined on Oct. 11, a week after the letterhead was released. Washington said he did not recall Henson.