Emergency management director resigns; sheriff to fill in until successor hired

Emergency management director resigns; sheriff to fill in until successor hired

URBANA — Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh will become the interim director of the county's emergency management agency following the resignation of Director John Carlson.

Carlson, who started in the position Jan. 9, 2012, is leaving the $60,700 post on Feb. 1.

He said Friday that he has "decided to spend more time with my family. It's just my own decision on this to take my life down a few notches."

The county soon will begin a search for a replacement, County Administrator Deb Busey said Friday. She said she hopes a successor is named "no later than April."

Walsh will become interim director of the agency that is located at 1905 E. Main St., U. But he said that Lt. Shane Cook, who has worked with Carlson on a number of projects in the last year, would handle the day-to-day operations and supervision of the agency.

John Dwyer, the deputy director of the agency, also will remain.

At the time Carlson was hired in 2011, county board member Michael Richards called him "a slightly unorthodox choice" because he had not come from an emergency management services background. Carlson had been a vice president of manufacturing at Gill Athletics in Urbana, although he also had done emergency planning for the Illinois National Guard.

Both Busey and Walsh praised Carlson's work at the emergency management agency.

"He's been great. I'm very sad to see him go," Busey said. Added Walsh: "He's done a fantastic job at that place."