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.