Interviews next week for fire chief finalists

CHAMPAIGN — City officials will interview five finalists for fire chief next week as they look to replace Doug Forsman.

Forsman announced his retirement earlier this year after two tours of duty with the Champaign department totaling 17 years. Altogether, Forsman has been in the fire service for 50 years.

With Forsman set to leave on Dec. 10, city officials have selected five finalists to replace him, including the current deputy chief in Champaign, and City Manager Dorothy David will make her decision in the coming weeks.

According to a city press release, the five finalists are:

— Champaign Deputy Fire Chief Steve Clarkson, a 27-year veteran of the department, who has a bachelor's degree in fire service management from Southern Illinois University and an associate's degree in fire service from Parkland College.

— Cape Girardeau, Mo., Fire Chief Richard Ennis, a 32-year veteran, who has a bachelor's degree in urban affairs and public administration from Wright State University and an associate's degree in fire administration from Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio.

— Charles Lauss, fire chief for Pinkerton Governmental Services in Peoria. Pinkerton is a private company that provides protective services for government agencies. Lauss has a doctorate of education in organizational leadership and a master's degree in executive fire service leadership both from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.

— Oak Lawn Fire Chief George Sheets, a 29-year veteran with a master's degree in organizational management from Spring Arbor University, a bachelor's of applied science from Sterling College and an associate's degree in fire science from Belleville Area College.

— James Trainor, a 42-year veteran who retired after 10 years as chief of the Meriden, Conn., Fire Department. He has a master's degree in fire service leadership from Grand Canyon University a bachelor's in fire science technology from Charter Oak State College and two associate's degrees.

The finalists will field questions on Monday and Tuesday from four interview panels consisting of community members, local fire officials, Champaign Fire Department employees and city staff.

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