Neuman and Schuh

Copunty Executive Laura Neuman, left, and Del. Steve Schuh (Baltimore Sun File Photos / September 5, 2006)

Del. Steve Schuh and Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman traded barbs this week over alleged ethical lapses as the Republican campaign for the county's top job heats up.

Schuh fired the first shot Thursday, saying he planned to file an ethics complaint alleging Neuman and some of her staff have been doing campaign work on county time. Schuh made the allegations as Neuman conducted a day-long tour of the county to officially launch her bid to win a full term as county executive. She was appointed last February to replace John R. Leopold.

Schuh filed a complaint with the Anne Arundel County Ethics Commission on Friday. "Anne Arundel County has been embarrassed in recent years by the illegal actions of public officials," Schuh wrote to the ethics commission. "This is more of the same."

Schuh's campaign said county employees send out email news roundups that include stories about the campaign, that Neuman and her communications director posted campaign messages on their official Twitter accounts and that Neuman staffers attended the Tawes Crab and Clambake last summer on county time.

"She needs to publicly acknowledge her actions and immediately stop using county government resources for her campaign," Schuh's campaign manager, Diane Crogan, said in a statement.

Neuman's county director of communications, Walinda West, defended the county executive, saying the news roundup emails are standard for any government and the Twitter accounts were changed to no longer be official county accounts.

"Politics is fine, but lies are not," West said. "Any allegations, we invite them to produce proof."

Neuman's campaign manager, Ryan Terrill, fired back at Schuh, saying the delegate from Gibson Island gets reimbursed for meals and hotels in Annapolis during the 90-day General Assembly session, while Neuman, he said, has paid the county for some of her out-of-town travel costs.

"Instead of proactively working to build a record voters respect, he has tried to generate his own spotlight by testifying on already failed legislation and manufacturing accusations. That's what career politicians do," Terrill said in a statement.

The winner of June's Republican primary is expected to face Democratic candidate George F. Johnson IV, a former county sheriff, in the general election. Another Democratic candidate, Joanna Conti, withdrew from the race this week. The deadline to file to run is Tuesday.

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