Anchorage Health Department director resigns due to health issues

Anchorage Health Department Director Joe Gerace resigned following “severe health issues” he experienced over the last week.
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 4:52 PM AKDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2022 at 3:14 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage Health Department Director Joe Gerace resigned following “severe health issues” he experienced over the last week.

In a press release issued Monday, Mayor Dave Bronson’s spokesperson Corey Allen Young wrote that Gerace resigned and Anchorage Health Department Deputy Director Kim Rash will serve as the acting director.

“Last week, I suffered a stroke while working and spent three days in the hospital as a result,” Gerace said in the release. “Today, after suffering another event, and being transported by ambulance to the hospital, I recognize the need to focus on my health first and foremost. I thoroughly enjoyed leading the Anchorage Health Department and it’s dedicated staff to help the residents of Anchorage, but my health and well being is my upmost priority right now.

Gerace was confirmed as director last November after Bronson’s initial nominee for the position — David Morgan — had resigned prior to his confirmation hearing before the Anchorage Assembly. Gerace’s confirmation hearing was postponed after questions about Gerace’s conduct were emailed to the assembly members.

Morgan resigned on Aug. 6 of 2021 and Gerace’s initial hearing on Nov. 9 of 2021 was postponed. Later that week, the assembly voted 7-3 to confirm Gerace.

Just after the press release was issued Monday announcing Gerace’s resignation, Alaska Public Media reported inaccuracies in Gerace’s resume, including his employment and military history.

Tuesday morning, another press release was issued that stated Bronson would launch an investigation into Gerace’s hiring, and the city’s hiring practices.

“Upon hearing the shocking news yesterday about Joe Gerace, I immediately tasked the Municipal Manager’s Office and Human Resources Department to investigate the hiring of former Anchorage Health Director Joe Gerace,” Bronson said in the release. “I expect an in-depth and thorough investigation into this matter, and HR hiring practices moving forward.”

This article has been updated with additional information.

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