The Official No: Petrolia denies FOI request for Fleming report

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Petrolia CAO Manny Baron presents Mayor John McCharles with a new chain of office in August 2016. Heather Wright Photo

The Town of Petrolia has turned down a request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to release the report which led to the departure of the town’s top administrator.
Chief Administrative Officer Manny Baron resigned Nov. 14 after an investigation by John Fleming.
Fleming was called in after The Independent revealed the CAO owned two buildings which were being used by the town. He was receiving rent for a storage area at 395 Fletcher St. and utilities for a youth/seniors centre on Robert St.
Baron didn’t disclose his ownership of the buildings through a numbered company. At one point, he told councillors 395 Fletcher belonged to developer Horst Richter, even though he was the legal owner.
Town Council has repeatedly said it will not release the information to the public.
The Independent filed under the Municipal Freedom of Information Act for the full report. It was denied since Fleming was retained to “provide advice or recommendations to council” in a labour matter.
The Independent also asked for the CAO’s contract, resignation letter and settlement package.
The decision on whether or not those records will be disclosed will wait until January. In its decision, Acting CAO Mandi Pearson says “disclosure of the records may affect the interests of Mr. Baron. He is being given the opportunity to make representation about the release of the records”which is permitted under the act.
The Independent has already filed an appeal of the decision.

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