Council Hears Second Reading on Moral Claim

by WHIZ Reporter on April 9, 2012 at 9:26 am

Zanesville City Council approved the second reading of a moral claim against the city by a grant writer hired by former Mayor Howard Zwelling.

Last year, RFG Associates completed a federal grant application to obtain a new fire truck and equipment for the city.

Those grants were signed by Mayor Zwelling last August.

Councilman David Tarbert said that although RFG Associates did the work, the former Mayor did not follow procedure to get Council approval.

"I think RFG Associates did work at the request of a Mayor, but the problem was that the Mayor didn’t go through the proper channels to get that approved," said Tarbert.   "It’s in the Ohio Revised Code, and the channels that have to be followed, and the steps that have to be taken before that contract can get approved, and it was not done."

Rob Guentter, who was not in attendance at Monday’s meeting, is seeking nearly $75,000 for his firm.

Tarbert said that if the former Mayor had gone through the proper channels, council would’ve had a chance to see if the city’s grant writers could’ve taken on the task, and avoided the moral claim.

"If our in-house people said, "Yeah, we can do this pretty easily, and it won’t cost the city anything," we’re obviously paying salaries for our in-house people already, we can do this without any problem, at least there would have been the opportunity for Council to discuss it," added Tarbert.

The ordinance will go back for a third reading during the next meeting before the Council will vote on the measure.