Champaign reopens fire chief search

Champaign reopens fire chief search

CHAMPAIGN — The city will reopen its search for a new fire chief after City Manager Dorothy David said officials could not find anyone who met the full breadth of what they were looking for.

Fire Chief Doug Forsman is still on until December, but now the city will not have found his permanent replacement by the time he leaves. Longtime Capt. Dave Ferber will be acting fire chief after Forsman leaves.

"Given this being a period of transition, he's in the best position to continue to make sure that our department stays stable," David said.

Ferber has been in fire service for 40 years, 22 of which he has spent with the Champaign Fire Department. David said he is well regarded among his peers locally.

The city announced in September that it had found five finalists for the job, one of whom was Champaign's own deputy fire chief. None of the five were selected after meetings and interviews with city officials and a search committee.

David said it's not that they were looking for a particular characteristic that the finalists were lacking, but rather they were looking for someone with the right mix of skills. She said the department is seeking a unique person who matches the unique characteristics of Champaign.

The skills an ideal candidate would possess are all outlined in the job profile city officials came up with earlier this year.

"They all brought individual strengths, had impressive characteristics, but none of them in my opinion met what was described in the profile," David said.

The city will resume taking applications until sometime after Jan. 1 and hope to hold another round of interviews no later than spring 2014.

The goal to have a new fire chief in place before Forsman leaves will not be met, but David said it is in the best interest of the city.

"The right goal is to select the right fire chief," she said.

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