Champaign’s former Fire Chief may return to post

By Jim Shay

The City of Champaign may tap a familiar face to fill its vacant Fire Chief position.

A Tuesday press release from the City Manager’s Office identified former city of Champaign Fire Chief Douglas P. Forsman as the “sole candidate” being interviewed for the position which was left vacant after Fire Chief David Penicook retired in December 2007.

Following a review of more than 40 applications, an advisory committee comprised of community members, city department heads and fire department personnel decided Forsman’s “qualifications and experience far exceeded that of other applicants.”

City Manager Steve Carter expects to make a final decision on the position within the next week after Forsman undergoes the city’s full screening process for department head positions.

“We found ourselves in the unique position of having an exceptional Fire Chief wishing to return to Champaign,” Carter said in a press release. “While 16 years have passed since he left the Champaign Fire Chief’s office, he has stayed in touch with the community. The community knows and respects him. He has the experience and qualifications to meet the needs of our excellent fire department and thriving community.”

Forsman spent 12 years as Champaign’s Fire Chief, from 1980 to 1992, and currently serves as fire chief and chief administrative officer for Union Colony Fire/Rescue Authority in Greeley, Colo.

Forsman is also on the board of directors of the National Fire Protection Association and acts as president of the Colorado State Fire Chiefs’ Association.