Council Votes Down Moral Claim

by Kelly Choate on April 23, 2012 at 9:56 am

Zanesville City Council rejected an ordinance involving a moral claim for almost $75,000 filed against the city by a grant writer.

Rob Guentter of RFG Associates is requesting payment for completing a federal grant application to help pay for the purchase of a new ladder truck for the Zanesville Fire Department.  Former Mayor Howard Zwelling signed a contract with Guentter in January 2011, but Councilman Mark Baker said Zwelling never asked for council’s formal approval before signing the contract.

"Had RFG Associates come to us and made the same provisions, we might have opted to do that in-house or possibly as a partnership with them at a lower rate or perhaps paid them upfront," said Baker.

Because RFG Associates was successful in securing the grant, Guentter argued that his firm deserves to be paid for its services.

"I can understand his side of the story," said Baker.  "I understand where we’re coming from in trying to defend the rights of Zanesville taxpayers.  Hopefully we can maintain a middle ground, and as you saw at the end of council when that motion was voted down, Mr. Tarbert stated that he believed a 5% compromise could be fashioned if it were accepted by RFG Associates."

Council turned down the moral claim on a 5 to 4 vote after more than 40 minutes in executive session.  Guentter declined to comment on behalf of RFG Associates.