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Serving politics

The Allen County commissioners on Thursday made it known they didn’t appreciate Mayor Tom Henry’s event Wednesday criticizing Republican Paula Hughes for cutting the county highway budget.

At the event, Henry said such a cut hurt the county’s ability to provide snow removal. County officials in 2007 said the cuts would make it take 90 minutes longer to clear main roads, but on Thursday they touted their efforts to keep roads cleared.

“The Board of Commissioners wishes to state for the record that at no time has the removal of snow or ice from county highways been cut, eliminated or reduced in priority as a result of any loss of funding,” the statement said.

Instead, they trained others to drive snow plows, according to the release.

Justin Schall, Henry campaign manager, was quick to criticize the commissioners’ statement as a political attack and questioned whether it was appropriate for them to have sent such a message from their taxpayer-financed offices.

“This is a political press release,” Schall said. “I think it’s an abuse of their office, and a fairly serious one.”

It is unlikely Schall offered the same critique of a press release sent from Henry’s official staff on Thursday announcing the start of leaf collection. While the announcement is timely – it starts Monday – it does start by calling leak pickup “a vital city service.” This is pretty much the exact language the Henry campaign used during its Wednesday event, and it is language the Henry administration has not used before in describing leaf collection.

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