The Whidbey Island Public Hospital District will soon swear in a new board commissioner.
Longtime Oak Harbor veterinarian Dr. Eric Anderson was the board’s choice to fill the District 5 seat left vacant when commissioner Anne Tarrant stepped down in June to move out of state. When a hospital commissioner resigns before their term expires, state law allows the remaining commissioners to appoint a replacement to finish the term.
Dr Eric Anderson
Dr. Anderson is director and chief of staff of the Best Friend’s Veterinary Center in Oak Harbor. He has repeatedly been voted “Best Veterinarian on Whidbey” by Whidbey News-Times readers.
After Tarrant announced plans to leave the board, the hospital district used newspaper ads, social media and the WhidbeyHealth website to reach out to citizens living in District 5 who were interested in completing Tarrant’s term.
The response was very strong, according to board president Ron Wallin. “We were so pleased to have such a strong level of interest in this role,” Wallin says. “We had some very talented and committed individuals step forward who wanted to serve their community and support our local healthcare system.”
Seven applicants, including Dr. Anderson, initially spoke with Wallin, who overviewed the position and its responsibilities. Later, they met with CEO Geri Forbes to learn more about the healthcare system and the role of commissioner. Finally, each applicant engaged in an interactive discussion for an hour with all four commissioners at public meetings held Sept. 1 and 2.
After all interviews were completed, the board went into executive session to evaluate qualifications of the applicants. Returning to public session, the commissioners voted to appoint Dr. Anderson.
“With so many good candidates, this was not an easy choice,” says Forbes. “Dr. Anderson’s skills complement the existing commissioners while also positioning the board to meet future challenges.”
“Many thanks to all applicants for their interest and for the time they took to learn about our healthcare system,” Forbes continued. Several of the applicants agreed to volunteer in other capacities to support the district, Forbes noted.
Dr. Anderson will take the oath of office at the board’s regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Sept. 12. His appointment is effective until the next regular election for public hospital commissioners, which will take place in November 2017.
Dr. Anderson attended Coupeville High School and graduated from Washington State University, where he has since earned an appointment as adjunct professor to the College of Veterinary Medicine. His wife Mary Anderson is Senior Services Administrator for the city of Oak Harbor. His daughter, Dr. Erica Anderson Syring, also practices at Best Friend’s Veterinary Center. The Anderson family has lived on Whidbey Island since 1912.