OLYMPIA - Phil Anderson, who has served as interim director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) for more than nine months, was chosen today as the department's permanent director.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to select Anderson in a public meeting here, after interviewing six candidates and narrowing the field to two finalists in August. The commission is a nine-member citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for WDFW.
Commission members said they sought a director with a strong conservation ethic, sound fiscal-management and leadership skills and expertise in intergovernmental relations.
"We've had a healthy discussion on the future of the Department of Fish and Wildlife and we're confident that together the commission and Phil will set the priorities to guide the department in its vital mission of protecting Washington's natural resources," said Miranda Wecker, chair of the citizen commission.
Anderson will fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Jeff P. Koenings, Ph.D., who left the director's post last December after a decade on the job. Anderson has served as interim WDFW director since Koenings' resignation.
As director, Anderson will report to the commission and manage a department of 1,386 employees, with a biennial operating and capital budget of more than $350 million.
The commission voted to recommend Anderson be paid an annual salary of $141,000. The director's salary is subject to approval by Gov. Chris Gregoire.
Anderson, age 59, served as WDFW's deputy director for resource policy for more than a year before being appointed interim director.
Anderson previously served as assistant director of WDFW's Intergovernmental Resource Management Program, leading the department's North of Falcon team which sets annual salmon-fishing seasons for marine waters including Puget Sound and the coast. Anderson also is WDFW's representative to the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC).
Anderson joined WDFW in 1994 after serving seven years on the PFMC as a private citizen, including duties as PFMC vice chairman and chairman. Anderson began his professional fishery career over 30 years ago as owner and operator of a charter fishing boat business. He attended Grays Harbor College.
Anderson and his wife, Chris, live in Westport and have two sons. Anderson is an avid hunter, fisher and birdwatcher, and has served as a school board member of the Ocosta School District.