Fire chief interviews continue this week in Champaign

Fire chief interviews continue this week in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN — City Manager Dorothy David said on Tuesday she believes the fire department has continued to function well despite a longer-than-expected search for a new chief.

City officials are bringing in two more candidates to be interviewed for the job this week, months after the position was expected to be filled. Then-Fire Chief Doug Forsman retired in December, and the city had hoped to have a new chief in place by then.

David said she thinks there were good candidates in the most recent interview sessions, but that the selection committee "wanted to give some additional opportunities to the finalists from the phone interviews."

This week's group of two candidates is essentially the third round of finalists who will sit down with interview panels to screen for the job.

The city relaunched its search in November of last year after deciding that an original round of finalists, including then-Deputy Chief Steve Clarkson, did not meet the full breadth of skills officials were seeking. Clarkson has since retired.

David said city officials were hoping to have found the right person for the job by now, but they do not want to rush it.

"This isn't about how quickly you do it," David said. "It's about taking the time to do it well."

Longtime fire department Capt. Dave Ferber continues as the department's acting chief. David said the people who have been installed in interim roles have done a good job in the meantime.

"I believe that the people who are functioning in acting roles right now are good leaders," David said. "We do want to find a permanent leader, but I think we continue to be a very well-run fire department."

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