No conflict of interest
So how did this circumstance come about?
The previous maintenance person with the Town of Clarke’s Beach, David Moore Sr., held the position for many years. He took sick about two years ago, and later served notice that he wouldn’t be returning to the post.
The town had been discussing the possibility of hiring someone with training in water operations, and Laracy had the right credentials, said Clarke’s Beach Mayor Betty Moore.
Laracy was hired in October 2009, when he was a Cupids town councillor. He later assumed the mayor’s post. Laracy previously worked for the towns of Cupids and South River in similar capacities.
“I think (Ron) is doing an excellent job,” said Mayor Moore. “Council, on the whole, is very pleased with him.”
And, she added, his job has nothing to do with him being the mayor of another community.
If anything, Moore considers her town to be fortunate, and wonders, “ how many towns around actually have a full-time water operator on staff?”
Laracy operates the chlorine plant in Clarke’s Beach, which makes him responsible for the delivery of safe and clean drinking water to residents. Moore said he doubles as wastewater operator and maintenance person, with the former being his priority.
In Cupids, meanwhile, Laracy’s colleagues on council seem to have no problem with the arrangement. Several councillors refused an interview, but longtime Coun. Christine Burry said it’s a non-issue.
“ We cannot pick and choose a job a person does,” she said. “As long as Cupids issues are Cupids issues, and Clarke’s Beach issues are Clarke’s Beach issues, there will be no problem, as long as the mayor remembers that his main priority is our town.”
A spokeswoman for the Department of Municipal Affairs, Heather MacLean, issued the following statement: “ We would not have information concerning the employment of any individuals who participate in municipal council.”
She said both town councils are “distinct entities” and there is no conflict of interest.
When pressed, she suggested that a mayor of one municipality working with another municipality isn’t unique in provincial municipalities. “ When I mentioned it to officials, they did not seem to feel it was unique or unusual.”