James P. Gleason

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James P. Gleason
1st Montgomery County Executive
In office
1970–1978
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Charles W. Gilchrist
Member of the Montgomery County Council
In office
1968–1970
Maryland Constitutional Convention Delegate
In office
1967–1968
Personal details
Born 1921
Cleveland, Ohio
Died 2008
Rockville, Maryland
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Georgette Gleason
Residence Rockville, Maryland
Occupation Attorney and Local Politician

James P. Gleason was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1921 and received an undergraduate degree and law degree from Georgetown University through an accelerated program in 1950. He served as a legislative assistant to Senator Richard Nixon, administrative assistant to Senator Knowland, consultant to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Assistant Administrator of NASA, and as a member of many other task forces and committees. He was also chairman of both the Washington Suburban Transit Commission and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. In 1968, he was appointed to the Montgomery County Council, and in 1970, Gleason, a Republican, was elected as the first Montgomery County Executive in an overwhelmingly Democratic district.

Gleason's tenure was marked by an extensive reorganization of County government in 1972 and by conflicts with the County Council and County citizens. Loath to compromise, he threatened to withhold Montgomery County funds from Washington Metro, which he had helped plan and which he avidly supported, unless it promised to build two lines into the County. He refused to play party politics, and instead appointed department heads and staff with an even-handedness based on merit. In 1978, despite assured reelection, he announced his retirement from politics to pursue a writing career.

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Preceded by
none
Montgomery County, Maryland Executive
1970–1978
Succeeded by
Charles W. Gilchrist