Liberty Township trustees have officially leveled charges against their suspended fire chief, alleging misconduct in office and gross neglect of duty.
Trustees have sent the charges to Fire Chief Tim Jensen’s attorney, Paul Bittner, according to township officials.
The next step in the township’s process will be to schedule a hearing of the charges before trustees.
Cincinnati attorney Douglas Duckett, who conducted an investigation into Jensen’s conduct and prepared a 33-page report for trustees, also prepared the charges against Jensen at the request of trustees on May 16. On Monday, trustees accepted the charges that were prepared by Duckett.
Trustees suspended Jensen March 1, and spent nearly $19,000 on the Duckett investigatory report that concluded Jensen is not fit to continue as fire chief.
According to a document provided by the township, Duckett states that, under state law, “I bring the following charges of misconduct in office, gross neglect of duty, and malfeasance and nonfeasance against Fire Chief Timothy R. Jensen.”
Regarding misconduct, Duckett states that Jensen failed to provide requested information and to perform his duty as chief. “Chief Jensen has failed to complete projects, has not provided information as requested or directed by the township trustees or administrator, and he has failed to perform his duties generally in a timely and professionally thorough manner.”
Regarding gross neglect of duty, Duckett states that Jensen failed to hold personnel accountable for actions and did not follow through with appropriate disciplinary actions. “In his leadership of the fire department, Chief Jensen has failed to hold firefighters and fire officers accountable for their actions and failings in a timely and effective manner, and he has thus grossly failed his responsibility as chief to create a culture of accountability and appropriate disciplinary consequences for his employees.”
Regarding the allegations of malfeasance and nonfeasance, Duckett states:
• “Chief Jensen, while passionate about the fire service, has failed to lead by example, and the result is a perception of weakness and lack of accountability in his role as fire chief.”
• “Chief Jensen has failed to work appropriately and effectively with the township’s human resources function and has failed in his duty to appropriately manage this important area of his work responsibilities.”
“Malfeasance” is defined as wrongdoing by a public official and “nonfeasance” is defined as a failure to perform an act required by law.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.