UFA Chief stepping down amid audits of department’s finances

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SALT LAKE CITY – Unified Fire Authority Chief Michael Jensen is stepping down amid two separate financial audits of the organization.

First, a state audit, still in process, raised red flags. UFA board members, wanting answers fast, ordered their own audit, looking into expenses on gas cards, purchase cards and incentives already paid out.

“We feel it’s important to know exactly what happened and why,” said Christopher Pengra, the Mayor of Eagle Mountain who also serves as the Vice Chair of UFA’s board.

With both audits pending, Pengra was unwilling to go into specifics regarding how much money is in question. However, the issue surrounding incentives seems to be nothing new. Chief Jensen says it’s not all on his shoulders.

“The Chair of the Board approved as well as signed all of those expenses,” Jensen said.

The incentives, according to Jensen, were paid for services provided to UFSA, the taxing district that collects funds for UFA’s operations outside of the major cities it serves.

UFA is Utah’s largest fire department, with stations stretching from Emigration Canyon to Eagle Mountain, including coverage in Alta, Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Eagle Mountain, Herriman, Holladay, Midvale, Riverton, Taylorsville and the Unincorporated Areas of Salt Lake County.

On Friday, UFA’s Governance Committee asked Chief Jensen to join their meeting. It was closed to the public but shortly after it wrapped up, Jensen announced his departure.

“The board and I are working through a mutual separation," Jensen said.

No end date for his service has been set. However, Jensen said he hopes to come to terms fast to allow both himself and UFA to move on. UFA’s next board meeting is Tuesday, August 16.