Anchorage Assembly to receive report on former health director

FastCast digital headlines for Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 3:19 PM AKST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 10:27 PM AKST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage Assembly went into executive session Tuesday night to review documents from the investigation into former Anchorage Health Department Director Joe Gerace, who fabricated much of his education and military background on his resume.

Joe Gerace resigned suddenly in August of last year, citing health issues at the time. After the publication of an investigation into Gerace’s resume contents by Alaska Public Media, Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration began an investigation into Gerace’s hiring.

The assembly has requested to see the report produced from that investigation but has been unsuccessful — until now.

“All of us recognize the unprecedented nature of this time,” Assembly Vice Chair Chris Constant said, “that we are in the operation of our municipal government in which we have an administration that’s so consistently flubbing that we don’t know what’s true or what’s factual.”

Attempts to get in touch with Gerace were unsuccessful, and emails to the mayor’s office were not returned. As Anchorage Health Department Director, Gerace was in charge of responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the homeless crisis in Anchorage.

But in August of 2022, investigative reporting from Alaska Public Media revealed that Gerace lied about his education and military experience.

Constant says assembly members rely upon the city’s Human Resources Director Niki Tshibaka to screen applicants’ information. How Gerace was able to fabricate his resume and still get hired became part of an investigation by the administration. However, what was discovered in that investigation was never turned over to the assembly.

The report generated by that investigation is expected to be released to members Tuesday evening after the assembly voted unanimously to activate subpoena powers.

“I was very satisfied that it was a unanimous vote because that demonstrates, hopefully to most people, that what we’re doing is a necessary inquiry,” Constant said.

Constant says he expects the assembly to have the report around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, where it will be reviewed in an executive session.

“We have a whole lot to think about,” Constant said.

Constant said he’s very concerned about who got paid — and under what terms — from contracts and grants that were authorized by Gerace.