The 12,000-member Montgomery County teachers’ union withdrew its endorsement of County Council District 5 candidate and Board of Education member Christopher Barclay Wednesday evening, becoming the second public employee union to rescind its recommendation after reports that he abused a board-issued credit card and has been unable to raise money for his campaign.
Doug Prouty, president of the Montgomery County Education Association, said in a statement that the decision came after a discussion and vote by the union’s 130-member representative assembly.
“As teachers and childhood educators, we hold ourselves to the highest of standards. It is what our community expects of all those in public service,” Prouty said. “We also believe that Chris Barclay has been – and we hope will continue to be – an important voice for our county’s neediest students, schools and neighborhoods ...We believe Chris can have a good future in public service in the county. But in light of the recent news and financial disclosures, we cannot recommend him in this race at this time.”
On Tuesday, Service Employees International Union Local 500, which represents about 10,000 school support staff and adjunct faculty at Montgomery College, also retracted its endorsement of Barclay.
The more surprising part of MCEA’s announcement is that it made no other choice in the contest for District 5, which takes in Silver Spring and Eastern Montgomery. There had been wide speculation that Del. Tom Hucker (D-Montgomery) who has received the MCEA nod for his state house races, and who has close ties to union leadership, would pick up the spot on the influential Apple Ballot.
Prouty declined to discuss the union’s deliberations. But his statement notes that MCEA candidate recommendations require a 58 percent super-majority of the representative assembly.
Barclay said earlier this week that he intends to remain in the race. The other candidates are Silver Spring activist Evan Glass, Takoma Park community organizer Terrill North and non-profit leader Jeffrey Thames.
Glass said in a statement that MCEA “took a good look at both Christopher Barclay and Tom Hucker and voted to support neither candidate.”
“Their decision underscores the need for oversight and accountability and sends the right message to voters that we need responsible local leadership on the County Council,” he said.
Prouty pushed back at Glass’ suggestion, saying that he “sought our recommendation and didn’t get it.”
“To try to differentiate himself in that regard is completely invalid,” he said.