Suspended Liberty Township Fire Chief Tim Jensen’s attorney said he has prepared a response to an investigatory report that says Jensen is unfit to be chief.
Meanwhile, township trustees will consider paying nearly $19,000 for the report they commissioned in March at an original cost of $7,500.
Township trustees meet at 7:30 p.m. today and will likely consider what the report says about Jensen’s performance as fire chief. The investigation and report were done by a Cincinnati attorney.
Paul Bittner, Jensen’s attorney, told The Gazette Friday that he has responded to the investigatory report which was made public last Wednesday. He declined to provide The Gazette a copy of his response.
Bittner said that both he and Jensen plan to attend tonight’s township trustee meeting.
Bittner said Friday that he had sent an email addressing job-performance issues contained in the report against Jensen to the township’s attorney, Edward Kim.
According to Bittner, he had to send the response to Kim before releasing it to the public.
Jensen has been on administrative leave since March 1, pending the investigation into his conduct as fire chief and the fire department.
Trustees authorized spending $7,500 for the investigation in March by Cincinnati attorney Doug Duckett.
During their last meeting May 2, trustees tabled discussion on spending another $7,500 on the investigation.
Officials say it is likely they will vote on the issue of additional payment for Duckett’s report at tonight’s meeting. “I think the invoice will be well over $7,500,” Trustee Shyra Eichhorn said in a text message.
An agenda packet emailed by Liberty Township officials Friday indicates that the trustees tonight will consider a resolution that pays Duckett “up to $18,834.34” for the report.
Last Monday, township trustees received the report by Duckett. After reviewing the report, township officials made the report public Wednesday morning.
Trustees hired the Cincinnati attorney to investigate Jensen’s performance as chief and to write a report on his findings.
In the report, Duckett wrote, “Without a major fundamental and ongoing change of course, Mr. Jensen is not fit to remain in command of the fire department. … Whether he is capable of making the needed changes, and whether the board of trustees can ever have trust and confidence in his leadership in this critical role, are questions that both he and the board of trustees must ponder and decide.”
However, in his conclusion, Duckett acknowledged in the report that the issue is not about Jensen’s character, good intentions or passion for the fire service.
Trustees will meet today in the township hall at 7761 Liberty Road, Powell.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.