Political Notebook

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The Fort Wayne City Council this week finally weighed into the controversy around Mayor Tom Henry’s abrupt ending of the six-year partnership with Allen County for homeland security.

Councilman Tom Smith, R-1st, said while he was appreciative of the mayor trying to save money, he was also concerned the action could jeopardize public safety for the city or even the Northeast Indiana Public Safety Academy.

Henry sent a letter to the commissioners asking to end the joint homeland security department. He has repeatedly said the experiment was good, but it was more appropriate for the department to answer directly to the county because the county has responsibility for emergency management under state law. The city expects its final 2011 costs to be $45,355 for the joint department, depending on how much is reimbursed by county and state governments.

Smith asked the administration to appear before the council in the next few weeks to explain its decision to end the agreement.

“I think this is something we need to hear,” he said.

Henry on Wednesday told reporters the decision was to save money for the city and make clear who is in charge of the department. He said the city does plan on responding to the county in writing with a more detailed explanation this week.

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