Liberty Township trustees have placed township Fire Chief Tim Jensen on paid administrative leave in connection with a pending investigation into his conduct as chief.
After a meeting with Liberty Township’s administrator, Matt Huffman, on March 1, Jensen received a letter officially placing him on administrative leave.
The letter advised him that the township will be conducting an investigation of him and of the fire department.
The letter stated the investigation was being conducted on the grounds of possible misconduct, insubordination, failure to perform work assignments, unprofessional treatment of the public and unsatisfactory performance of duties.
The position of fire chief is a full-time position in Liberty Township. Jensen has been the fire chief since June 2009 and currently draws a salary of $91,000-per-year. In his time as fire chief, he has never been reprimanded, he said. “There have been no instances and no references,” Jensen said.
Liberty Township trustees passed a resolution at their March 7 meeting authorizing an expenditure of not more than $7,500 for the investigation. The money will be used in the investigation of the fire department and Jensen’s conduct as fire chief. They also authorized and directed that Jensen was to be placed on administrative leave during the investigation.
In the same resolution, Laurie Worcester of T&W Employer Services was hired and designated as the investigator for the list of allegations against Jensen and the fire department.
Two weeks later, on March 21, trustees changed investigators. Again trustees authorized an expenditure of not more than $7,500 and Douglas Duckett of Cincinnati was hired to conduct the investigation. Duckett couldn’t be reached for comment.
Jensen said he is not aware of any criminal investigation that could be conducted against him. He said he wasn’t given any one reason for the investigation other than what was listed in the official letter placing him on leave. “It’s a waiting game,” Jensen said.
Jensen has retained Paul Bittener as his attorney. “Chief Jensen was advised by the township that he was not permitted to disclose any details regarding the investigation,” Bittener said when contacted by The Gazette Tuesday.
Bittener said he could not comment any further because of the ongoing investigation.
Huffman was contacted for comment but he said he could only confirm the letter to Jensen placing him on administrative leave.
Jensen is to remain on leave until the conclusion of the investigation.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.