Manny Baron is alive and well and making more than $100,000.00 a year as Chief Administrative Officer in Mapleton Township. The disgraced CAO of Petrolia showed up at Mapleton’s Drayton offices north of Kitchener the first week of January.
Baron was put on administrative leave in Petrolia last October after the Petrolia Independent reported he was charging his employer, the Town of Petrolia utilities in lieu of rent on property he owned through a numbered company.
The property in question, one of two owned by Baron’s numbered company was being used for a youth drop in centre. The Independent reported that not only did Baron fail to disclose a conflict of interest but when asked denied owning the properties.
“I hate the idea of a numbered company and especially one owned by a Chief Administrative Officer” says Michael Martin, a first term Councillor in Mapleton. “I asked Baron if he had lied to Petrolia Council and he said no”.
Martin told First Monday he was “very direct” with Baron who was forthright in admitting he had made a mistake in Petrolia. “Personally, I could care less about Petrolia’s problems but I do care about Mapleton’s and want to make sure something like that doesn’t happen here”.
Marin added “Baron is very aware of the baggage he is bringing along with him and admits he absolutely made a mistake”.
“He needs a second chance, that’s what it came down to for us” says Martin who noted certain “requirements” have been attached to Baron’s employment in Mapleton. “Hopefully he lives and learns from his mistakes”.
Mapleton Mayor Neil Driscoll says Baron was the best candidate of 30 applicants and “personally I don’t care what he has done elsewhere, I only care about what he does in Mapleton and the consultant we hired recommended this guy”.
Driscoll says he knows Petrolia Mayor John McCharles and had a conversation with him about Baron and his situation. “I trust his opinion” says Driscoll adding “We run Mapleton on trust and truth and as long as Baron keeps that in mind we will be fine”.
Driscoll told First Monday “Baron made a mistake in judgement. If he makes the same mistake here he won’t be here”.
Martin confirmed Baron is being paid more than $100,000.00.