Galion Mayor Tom O’Leary has called a special City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to discuss entering into a new agreement for the purchase of a $695,000 aerial fire truck that remains unclaimed at a Columbus company.
The truck continues to sit, inactive, after City Treasurer Paula Durbin refused to sign a check for the vehicle last Thursday, claiming the city didn’t provide proper documentation for the purchase.
According to Law Director Thomas Palmer, a new ordinance will be presented to Council members to authorize a new purchase agreement for the aerial fire truck.
In addition, another ordinance will be presented directing Durbin to sign the check for the vehicle.
Other action slated at the meeting includes an executive session to discuss imminent court action, an ordinance amending 2015 appropriations and an ordinance discussing Fire Demolition Fund appropriation and payment.
Earlier Tuesday, Durbin said she needed to see an ordinance approving the fire truck purchase and a fiscal officer (city auditor) certificate certifying that funds were available and appropriated for the truck.
Palmer said the matter is under review after a records request was made earlier.
“We’re trying to make sure these documents are required and if they exist,” Palmer said, saying the request would be answered.
On Tuesday, Palmer also questioned Durbin’s discretionary authority.
“There is no duty in the Ohio Revised Code for the treasurer to investigate the check,” Palmer said. “There is nothing in the Ohio Revised Code that says she has discretion.”
According to city officials, the fire truck purchase was part of the city’s five-year plan devised in 2012. Council passed an ordinance in 2013 approving the purchase, appropriations were made in 2014 and the check was slated to be signed last Thursday.
If Council passes the new ordinance Wednesday, Palmer repeated the city could take action in The Common Pleas Court of Crawford County to try to get the check signed if Durbin refused to sign it.
If the new ordinance isn’t passed Wednesday, the city is expected to move forward with its current agreement, which may end up in court if the check isn’t signed.
“I’m glad to be able to tell a judge what’s going on,” Durbin said earlier Tuesday, citing Ohio Revised Code 5705.41, which says “every such contract without such a certificate shall be void and no warrant shall be issued as payment of any amount due thereon.”
“Good, functioning city government requires all of the city officials to question and review matters before them,” Durbin said Tuesday. “I am just doing my job as city treasurer.”