CAMDEN, NJ - A resolution before the Camden City Council that would have named a former state legislator, who was previously linked to an assault accusation, to a city agency post was pulled Tuesday night prior to the meeting.
Arthur Barclay, currently a Camden County employee, would have been in line for appointment as a commissioner of the Camden Parking Authority. Barclay resigned from the state assembly in June 2018, not long after an arrest on a simple assault charge during a domestic incident.
According to a Politico report, the Murphy administration informed the Camden Council that the state Department of Community Affairs -- headed by Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver -- would veto the appointment if it went through. The state Commissioner of Community Affairs has the power to veto a measure up to 10 days after approval, the resolution document reads.
City administration pulled the resolution from the September agenda before the council arrived for its caucus meeting, a council member confirmed.
Councilman Brian Coleman said Wednesday the council’s interview committee did not have a chance to speak with Barclay, contrary to news reports. He said the committee “had some questions themselves” for the candidate.
Barclay was up for an unexpired term with the five-member parking commission, an unpaid position. The term goes through May 2020 and was previously held by Shaneka Boucher, who resigned to run for a council seat.
County spokesman Dan Keashen confirmed Barclay is still employed with the county.
Barclay stepped down as an assemblyman for New Jersey’s 5th District on June 18, 2018, when news of his arrest was reported by multiple news outlets. In his letter to Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, Barclay did not give a reason for his decision.
But on the day of the resignation, Camden County Democratic Chair James Beach released a statement that said Barclay was resigning for "health reasons."
Former Camden City Councilman William Spearman was sworn into the state assembly at the end of June to replace Barclay.
A municipal court judge in August 2018 dismissed the charge against Barclay when the victim did not show at the hearing.
A Camden native, Barclay graduated from Camden High School in 2000, where he was a basketball standout. He went on to play basketball for the University of Memphis and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.
In 2005, Barclay took a position in Washington, D.C. with FedEx Corporation, according to his city council biography. From 2007 to 2009, he played professional basketball for the Rochester Razorsharks of Rochester, New York. He played until 2009.
Barclay was elected to the Camden City Council in 2014 and served until 2016 when he was elected to the state assembly representing parts of Camden and Gloucester counties. During his tenure, he served as the deputy majority whip.
But after his resignation from state office, Barclay never lost his county job.
According to his still-accessible bio page on the state legislature’s website, he was listed as a supervisor for the county's Department of Events and Community Outreach. Barclay now works in the Division of Senior and Disabled Services with a reported annual salary of more than $60,000. His resume attached to the council resolution, however, still lists the supervisor job as his current title.
Shortly after word broke of the potential appointment, the Camden County GOP Chairman issued a statement Tuesday calling on the city council to halt the decision.
Rich Ambrosino said that Barclay "should be thrilled his health has apparently greatly improved," a reference to the reason for his resignation.
“Health issues aside, there is no way Camden City Council should vote yes on this appointment,” Ambrosino said. “Arthur Barclay admitted to punching his girlfriend, he’s already been given a new job, and a pay raise, it’s time to stop rewarding him for what even Congressman Norcross said ‘is unacceptable under any circumstances.’ If they won’t listen to me, listen to the congressman from their own party.”
The Collingswood Progressive Democrats, a group in opposition of the establishment Democratic Party that covers much of Camden County, were the first to comment about Barclay’s status with the county and potential new city post.
“And right on the heels of news that Arthur Barclay, who resigned from office over domestic abuse charges, is still on the Camden County payroll,” a Facebook post read.
The city parking authority is mired in troubles of its own around claims of corruption involving the agency’s top chief and other personnel. An ongoing civil suit from a former employee alleges payroll fraud and bid-rigging by the agency and executive director Willie E. Hunter Sr.
A second commissioner position will be discussed as part of the upcoming council agenda. This separate resolution involves the reappointment of Jose Martinez Jr., the current parking authority board chairman, for another five-year term.