St. Marys resident Elizabeth Friedl once again addressed members of city council on Monday about the television service provided by Zito Media through the city's franchise agreement.
Friedl began by inquiring when the city's current agreement with Zito Media is set to expire. City solicitor Mark Jacob responded that the five-year contract will expire on Dec. 31, 2014.
In response to additional questions by Friedl, Jacob and members of council explained that there are certain penalties that Zito Media faces if it does not completely comply with the terms of the agreement and that there is no review period built into the contract.
"The current agreement actually was started on before I became solicitor and then we went through a long time period negotiating back and forth on some of the issues before it was even signed," Jacob said.
Jacob also indicated that mayor Sally Geyer and city manager Dave Greene signed the agreement on behalf of the city.
Friedl also inquired about what rights the agreement provides for city residents regarding the television service.
Jacob explained that the contract does provide subscribers with certain rights, including specific mandates related to repairs and interruption of service.
"In Section 5.5A it says that Zito Media shall provide the customer with a written response to a written complaint within 30 days of its receipt," Jacob said.
He indicated that this policy is beneficial for customers trying to get issues resolved because it requires Zito Media to provide documentation about specific issues.
"That way you have documentation that you indeed did call and complain, and then they're supposed to tell you in their response what the results of their inquiry into the subject matter of the complaint was and then their conclusions based on the inquiry," Jacob said.
Jacob added that if a citizen makes such a complaint and Zito Media does not respond in the appropriate manner, then the citizen is instructed to bring the issue to the city.
"You want to contact Zito Media first for any kind of service interruption or difficulty in your signal," Jacob stressed. "If you want to follow that up with a written complaint, that's probably well-advised to do so because then you have documentation of your complaint. Then they are supposed to respond in writing to you as well after they've checked into the problem. If that still doesn't get you anywhere, then you should contact the city with specifics."
In reference to a time frame for the resolution of specific, ongoing problems, Greene remarked that Zito Media has always indicated that they are continually updating their system.