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According to an official-looking letter passed around Bel Air in the past few days, the town has a “Department of Fiscal Responsibility” and that department is staffed by two candidates for the board of town commissioners, Greg Adolph and Ricky Davis.

But no such department exists, nor have Davis and Adolph ever held town office.

The official looking letter started showing up just days before Tuesday’s town election in which Davis and Adolph were hoping to unseat incumbent Commissioners David Carey and Robert Preston.

Addressed to “the taxpayers of Bel Air” and promising a 10-point plan to cut spending, the letter features a facsimile Town of Bel Air letterhead and was clearly made to look like official town business.

No one, however, seems to know who is behind the unusual piece of campaign literature, nor is anyone owning up to it.

Both Davis and Adolph say they knew nothing about it, though neither seemed concerned about its existence, nor did they say they disagreed with its message.

“I think that it spells out a decent plan,” Adolph noted.

The letter says Adolph and Davis have a 10-point agenda that is “the exact opposite of the agenda pursued by current Commissioners [David] Carey and [Rob] Preston.”

A copy of the letter was given to an Aegis reporter by Carey.

Commissioner Terry Hanley, a supporter of Davis and Adolph who served as their de facto campaign manager, said he too knew nothing about the letter’s origin but was concerned enough to consult with town attorney Charles Keenan. Hanley forwarded copies of the letter to a number of people via e-mail on Oct. 30, including another Aegis reporter.

“Basically, it’s a dead issue,” Hanley said Tuesday afternoon, while adding he agreed with its content.

“It looks like a campaign letter, which is a refreshing thing to see. Quite frankly, I was impressed and I forwarded it on,” he said.

Keenan said the letter does violate the town charter, but he is not aware of a specific penalty for using the town letterhead without permission.

The charter says all “municipal property, funds and franchises belonging to the town is vested in the town.”

“The town seal is to be used by the town, and the charter makes it plain that the seal is a peculiar symbol of the town,” Keenan said. “The present commissioners, when using the seal, should be using it in furtherance of town business, and candidates for election should not really be using it until they are actually elected.”

Hanley said Preston also sent out a campaign flier in October that contained a facsimile of the town seal.

Keenan said he is not aware of a similar problem coming up during any previous town election, but added he thinks the town will attempt to prevent the misuse of its seal in the future.

“People are caught up in the heat of the campaign about this,” the town attorney said. “In the future, candidates should be instructed that they should not use the town seal. The town has never been asked as to the legality of using its seal and people have obviously used it improperly.”

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