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Baldwin Quoted in Courant Story on Petit Engagement

Newtown school district's former communications consultant is among sources quoted in engagement of lone survivor of Cheshire home invasion.

Dr. William Petit Jr., who survived a vicious attack on his family in 2007, is set to marry again, and one of the sources quoted in the Hartford Courant, which broke the the story, was Newtown school district's former communications consultant Ann Baldwin.

"I am absolutely thrilled for him," Baldwin told the Courant. "After so much tragedy in his life, my hope is that he will again find happiness in this relationship."

Petit, 55, is engaged to photographer Christine Paluf, 34, who has done work with the Petit Family Foundation, the Courant and other news media reported Wednesday.

Baldwin told Newtown Patch she first learned of the engagement after well wishers posted messages on a Facebook photo in which Baldwin appeared alongside Petit and Paluf. The public relations consultant, who said the photo had been taken at a foundation event, called "Rise From Justice," later contacted Petit who confirmed the engagement.

"He's such a wonderful man," Baldwin said of Petit. "He seems very happy."

The two know each other professionally, and on occasion, Petit would reach out to her for free advice on the media and how to handle the press, according to Baldwin, who said she doesn't remember how they intially met.

Baldwin is best known in Newtown for a fiasco involving a so-called letter of agreement negotiated between her and Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson, which would net the consultant a monthly retainer.

The agreement apparently was made without knowledge of the full Board of Education, garnering tremendous public criticism on Robinson and former Board of Education chairman Bill Hart, who was among the few who knew about the hiring.

following the uproar.

The school district paid the consultant $19,700 for her services, including a $3,800 invoice that many members of the newly elected Board of Education said during a meeting that they wanted more details, according to the News-Times.

The year-long contract was to have been for $28,800, which did not include the $3,800 invoice and an additional $1,500 for video shooting and production, according to The Newtown Bee.

Baldwin said Wednesday the $3,800 was for services rendered prior to the inking of the contract, and one of the reasons for negotiating the monthly retainer. She said she would hope to leave behind the ill will that greeted her in Newtown.

"In most parts of the world, I have a great reputation for what I do," Baldwin said.

Kevin Fitzgerald January 07, 2012 at 04:22 PM
I see what you mean and while I think it is difficult legally and sometimes maybe even morally to say yes to one accomodation but no to others that appear similar, if what you describe can be done, that's good news to me. But when those parents who get the "no" disagree, some choose to fight that decision which then costs the district and the taxpayers. Maybe your point is that all accomodations should be made in all cases (except the obvious like convenience for example). That would be interesting to see...what would it have cost the district if all reasonable accomodations were made when they were requested. That cost, if any, versus the legal fees and other costs related to fighting the request. I'll send a request in to the BOE and the Administration to include that estimate when that line item is scrutinized. Hopefully it will happen early in this budget season so taxpayers will understand it by referendum time.
Kevin Fitzgerald January 07, 2012 at 05:10 PM
I just sent the request ....... Dear Janet, Debbie, Bill, John, Richard, Keith, Laura and Cody, I know the District's legal fees and Special Ed line items are under additional scrutiny by the BOE this year and I too am interested in validating the soundness of the decisions made in these areas, if only so that we can educate the public and improve the process where necessary. In your review, it would be helpful to understand what the cost to the district might have been if every request for an accomodation was made just as the parent requested and as the State requires it be provided. By knowing this, we would be able to understand the value, if any, of denying requests and then spending taxpayer funds to legally defend the argument against the accomodation. Maybe there is a case to be made that says we can avoid the additional costs, delay of services and strained parent/district relationships if any and all accomodations are approved. Or maybe there is a clear case to be made that says the costs to accomodate every request is prohibitive or unnecessary and by doing so would only attract more of the same. Please include this analysis in any review you take on. Thank you Kevin Fitzgerald  
yoda January 07, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Laura, Let me just say I voted for you simply because you stand up for the weak. The account for special ed who oversees the money spent and the purchases made?
yoda January 07, 2012 at 07:59 PM
And that's why I admire you.
Bridget Seaman January 07, 2012 at 08:51 PM
You're absolutely right, Hoa. This is what you are paid to do.

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