City Manager to Re-Launch Nationwide Search for Fire Chief; Captain Dave Ferber to Serve as Acting Fire Chief

Today, City Manager Dorothy Ann David announced that a nationwide search will resume for the position of Fire Chief. The initial nationwide search resulted in five (5) finalists interviewed for the position and they were: Stephen Clarkson, Richard Ennis, Charles Lauss, George Sheets and James Trainor. After thoughtful consideration of the candidates and feedback provided during the interview process, the City Manager has decided to reopen the search.

“The City of Champaign is a progressive, diverse community with an extremely high standard of public service. We are very proud of the men and women of the Champaign Fire Department and are seeking a leader that can help them meet the challenges of the future. While the candidates from the initial recruitment had a number of impressive credentials, we do not believe that we have found the leader with the right combination of skills and experience to meet our needs. For this reason, it is in the City’s best interest to reopen the search,” David said.

The City Manager also announced today that Captain Dave Ferber has been selected to serve as the Acting Fire Chief effective December 11, 2013 after the retirement of Fire Chief Douglas Forsman. “I have tremendous confidence in Dave’s ability to lead our department during this time of transition. It is important to have a seasoned leader to insure that the daily operations of the Fire Department go uninterrupted and the public safety of our community is protected. ” said David.

Ferber has 40 years of experience in the fire service and has been with the Champaign Fire Department since September 1991. He has served as Acting Deputy Chief since February of this year. His experience includes all aspects of the fire service including suppression, hazardous materials, technical rescue, emergency medical service, and incident command. Ferber is well regarded among his peers and throughout the Champaign-Urbana public safety community.

Recruitment for the new Fire Chief will begin immediately and the City Manager hopes to schedule interviews after the beginning of the year. The search process will include a variety of components to insure that the most qualified candidate is selected to serve in such an important position. Some of these components will include interview panels comprised of community members, local fire service officials, Champaign Fire Department employees and other City staff.