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FIRED WILDLIFE OFFICIAL RETURNS TO UTAH FOR FOUNDATION POST

Bill Geer, whose firing as director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources caused a firestorm of controversy in December 1988, is returning to Utah.

After five years on the job, Geer was fired when Gov. Norm Bangerter asked all department and division heads for their resignations. The Bangerter administration eventually kept nearly everyone but Geer.The wildlife director then charged he was fired because he didn't cooperate with officials' requests for favors. Bud Scruggs, Bangerter's chief of staff, said it was because Geer couldn't get along with elected city officials, ranchers, developers and other non-wildlife groups.

Geer immediately landed a high-level job in Washington, D.C., as coordinator for the North American Waterfowl Management Plan for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Now he is coming home.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation - a non-profit wildlife conservation organization based in Missoula, Mont., - has hired him as field director for Utah and Nevada, and he will live in Sandy.

The field directors assist volunteers in forming local chapters of the group, organize fund drives and coordinate the foundation's conservation programs. Among the programs are habitat acquisition and improvement, research, elk transplanting and conservation education.

The foundation raises funds for the benefit of wildlife other than elk. Supporters of the group are in every state and Canadian province.

Because the foundation has had rapid growth, it recently added five field directors, bringing the total to 12. Geer is one of the five new ones.