County conservation director to keep job
The Washington County Conservation Board (WCCB) met in closed session for more than an hour Thursday afternoon to discuss a personnel matter, during its monthly meeting.
When the board entered open session, WCCB Executive Director Steven Anderson and Vice President Liz Kaufman read prepared statements concerning the personnel matter.
Anderson said that on his personal time, he had paid fines for two citations from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
“I received the first citation soon after dark on Nov. 15, after bow hunting with my family in Jefferson County,” he read. “I had my bow and arrows, deer calls and a video camera with me. I had the intention of harvesting a coyote with my bow, which I have accomplished on six previous occasions over many years with a bow and consider to be a trophy every bit as much as any deer. I have also videotaped several deer going right under my stand. The officers interpreted this that I was deer hunting, and my only valid deer tag was a Washington County Anterless tag. Looking back, it is easy to see how they would interpret it that way, and I do apologize for getting myself, and them, into a gray area.”
Anderson next spoke about the second citation, which he received the next morning, Nov. 16.
“This citation was for effectively party hunting with a bow and arrow in Washington County on Veterans Day,” he continued. “In explanation, this means that I made an ethical and legal harvest of an antlerless doe deer with the proper tag in my possession. However, I allowed a friend to tag this deer and take it home — a clear violation of which I am totally guilty.”
Next Anderson said he obtained legal counsel about the proper procedure and that he has followed that counsel. He then concluded, “My statement is that I apologize for these two personal life blunders of mine, and that they have caused such embarrassment for the Washington County Conservation Board. I regret my actions and will make every effort to be even more vigilant.”
Kaufman then read the folowing: “We as a board have put together this statement. Conservation Department Director Steven Anderson has been a dedicated and valued employee. Very recently he used very poor judgment regarding deer hunting laws in the state of Iowa. He was issued two citations.
“The WCCB will not take any disciplinary actions in regard to the conservation director at this time. The board will conduct a detailed employee evaluation of the director position during the month of January, and we’ll finalize the requirements expected of our director at that time.
“The director and the board fully regret the circumstances that have developed due to the actions of our director, involving the DNR fines. The director has assured the board that these actions will never be repeated again.”
Lyle Moen, WCCB president, then invited members of the audience to address the board about Anderson. Four people, James Waterhouse, LaVerne Zieglowsky, Taylor Stogdill and Jeremy Greiner spoke against the board’s decision to continue employing Anderson.
Former WCCB member James Millice supported Anderson.
Washington County Supervisor Stan Stoops said the situation was regrettable. However, he said, “This is not the same thing as a deputy running a stop sign on a school bus. Steve Anderson is a good man.”
Stoops also characterized the situation as Anderson stubbing a toe.
Moen said that the board was not going to ignore the comments from the public.
During a phone call with Moen this morning, he said that in addition to a full evaluation, the board may require Anderson to receive additional training.