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Petrolia investigating while Sarnia’s putting lipstick on a pig

Chris Cooke's picture
Tue, 10/31/2017 - 14:18 -- Chris Cooke

Manny Baron, Margaret Misek-Evans and Dianne Gould-Brown have a problem.


They desire it, they crave it and they will do anything to keep it.

Baron is a classic.

He’s alleged to own properties in Petrolia and then leased them back to his employer, the Town of Petrolia.

Can you spell conflict of interest?

I thought you could.

Baron is on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation. Watch for the pay portion to go away along with the Chief Administrative Officer.

The Petrolia Independent noted not only did Baron fail to disclose his ownership in a building at 395 Fletcher Street in Petrolia for which he was collecting $2,500.00 per month but appears to have lied. The Independent says Baron told Councillors that local developer Horst Ricter owned the building when in fact his numbered company appeared to be an owner.

What it boils down to is a failure to divulge relevant information that could lead to a conflict of interest.

Baron’s case appears obvious.

Misek – Evans and Gould – Brown’s not so much.

Let me suggest Misek – Evans colluded to get rid of mayor Mike Bradley early in her tenure. She interviewed Councillors individually deciding which ones would implement her tax and spend agenda.

Thus we have the Fab 5, Matt Mitro, Cindy Scholten – Holt, Anne Marie – Gillis, Brian White and Bev MacDougall.

Misek – Evans knew which Councillors would carry her mantle when she brought in the Integrity Commissioner and a high-powered Mississauga lawyer to lay harassment charges against the mayor. She also knew which ones would support her personal legal bills, which exceed $30,000.00.

Her harassment debacle has cost Sarnia taxpayers at least $400,000.00.

The last time Gould – Brown claimed the mayor was harassing her Integrity Commissioner Robert Swayze showed up at $280.00 an hour. He flew in from Toronto.

He refused to divulge his outrageous bill claiming it wasn’t my business. Since then I checked the name on my municipal tax notice and it is mine. I doubt Swayze could do the same.

I could go on about how bureaucrats like Baron, Misek – Evans and Gould – Brown view themselves as untouchable.

The lack of paper ballots in next year’s municipal election was orchestrated in the back offices of Sarnia’s well - fortified City Hall. Misek – Evans had it rubber-stamped by her carefully selected Council to the detriment of seniors, the computer – challenged and those fearful of being hacked.

Full disclosure never came until the deadline had passed and it was too late to challenge. A super computer at City Hall will replace ballot boxes in retirement homes, schools and churches.

The Chief Administrative Officer has an agenda and she is conflicted. If she is to keep her $185,000.00 a year job she must either get the Fab 5 re – elected or find like – minded candidates that will support her carefree, pile on debt, economically unsound practices.

Which brings me to the municipal budget. It has been delayed until mid – November. Little is being said but I suspect Misek – Evans and her band of bureaucrats have gotten themselves in a financial pickle.

I don’t need to remind you that the bill at Centennial Park is now $13.5 million and at this writing there aren’t any boat ramps.

Should I mention that this Council has endorsed her every recommendation while blowing through reserves and piling on debt?

And then there is the City Hall fortress. Cameras watch your every move. Key cards and bars prevent public access. It is an inhospitable place and it cost plenty to make it that way.

When the budget is finally released don’t expect relevant information.

But here are some relevant questions.

Why does Sarnia need two municipal lawyers?

Why does Sarnia require four in IT, going to eight with intent to go to 11?

Why does Sarnia need a procedural bylaw to select rather than elect Anne Marie Gillis as deputy mayor?

Why does Sarnia need to spend $30,000.00 on an online engagement pilot project?

There isn’t any public engagement at Sarnia City Hall. The administration operates in a vacuum and as for the budget I suspect Misek – Evans and her finance director Lisa Armstrong are trying to put lipstick on a pig.

It is what happens when powerful bureaucrats run government.

It is called lack of accountability.

In Petrolia it may have caught up with Manny Baron. In Sarnia Margaret Misek – Evans needs to be reminded the public didn’t vote for her.

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