Liberty Township trustees approved a payment of $26,334 to attorney Douglas Duckett Tuesday in connection with the investigation of suspended Fire Chief Tim Jensen Tuesday night.

The total payment to Duckett includes the almost $19,000 The Gazette has previously reported being paid to the Cincinnati attorney.

This morning Jensen is to appear before Delaware County Common Pleas Judge Judge Everett Krueger for a hearing on his request for a stay of a disciplinary hearing scheduled for early August before township trustees.

Paul Bittner, Jensen’s attorney, filed for the stay in court last week in connection with the disciplinary hearing on charges of misconduct lodged against Jensen as fire chief. Township trustees would preside over the disciplinary hearing.

“We hope to get a decision for some clarity on the motion of appeal,” Bittner said about the Thursday hearing. “Hopefully we’ll get some direction.”

In an appeal, Bittner is asking Krueger to dismiss the charges against Jensen and has asked the court to stop the disciplinary hearing from proceeding until there is a ruling on the appeal.

Attorneys for township trustees have asked to hear from witnesses this morning, Bittner said. “I don’t know if there will be time for witnesses,” he said. “It depends on the docket.”

Bittner said last Friday that he and the township’s attorneys, Edward Kim and David A. Riepenhoff, have agreed to move the trustees’ disciplinary hearing date back to Aug. 8-9 to allow enough time for a court ruling on the stay. The disciplinary hearing had been scheduled for mid-July.

“Does the hearing go forward while waiting on the appeal?” Bittner said. “It’s an attempt to get clarification from the court.”

Bittner alleges Jensen will not get a fair hearing from trustees.

Jensen was placed on paid administrative leave March 1 by township administrator Matt Huffman.

Trustees officially charged Jensen on May 16, alleging misconduct in office and gross neglect of duty, based on an investigation report prepared by Duckett.

In total, township taxpayers have now paid about $92,356 so far in connection with the investigation of Jensen, including Jensen’s salary while he is on leave.


By D. Anthony Botkin

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D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.