Liberty Township's fire chief has been on paid leave for more than a month as a consultant investigates possible mismanagement in the department.

Liberty Township's fire chief has been on paid leave for more than a month as a consultant investigates possible mismanagement in the department.

Township trustees voted a month ago to place Tim Jensen on administrative leave. On March 21, they hired Douglas Duckett, a Cincinnati lawyer, to "investigate the conduct" of Jensen. Duckett will be paid up to $7,500.

In a March 1 letter from the township, Jensen was told he was being investigated for insubordination, unprofessional conduct and malfeasance, among other infractions.

In a February meeting, Administrator Matt Huffman confronted Jensen about comments made by a firefighter to a business owner, apparently blaming a failed fire levy for the lack of timely fire inspections. Jensen "didn't appear to have the same concern," according to notes from the meeting.

A second incident related to whether police or firefighters should have transported a resident with mental-health needs. Jensen reportedly told Huffman the issue "wasn't a priority" but that medics typically are used.

Jensen has been chief for almost seven years and with the department since the 1990s.

Three years ago, the township overwhelmingly passed a 5.6-mill levy to raise $7 million annually for five years, but it included staff cuts. Failure would have meant laying off most of the department and possibly converting to a volunteer staff or buying services from another department.

Currently, about 42 firefighters staff two township stations.

Huffman and trustees declined to discuss the matter, citing possible litigation.

Jensen did not return calls from The Columbus Dispatch for comment.