Anchorage Health Director resigns
Anchorage Health Director resigns, Alaska (KTUU) – An investigation by city hall began today into the hiring of Anchorage Health Director Joe Gerace, who resigned suddenly Monday.
Gerace was hired less than a year ago and he was put in charge of responding to the ongoing COVID-19 situation and growing homeless crisis in Anchorage.
His unexpected resignation came just as a joint investigation by both Alaska Public Media and American Public Media led to allegations that Gerace lied about his education and military experience.
“This is what this administration can claim as their legacy,” Anchorage Assembly Vice Chair Chris Constant said.
Constant says Assembly members rely upon the city’s Human Resources Director, Niki Tshibaka, to screen applicants’ information and they’ve never double-checked that process.
“There was one point in the record of the conversation where the HR Director took it upon himself to chastise members of the assembly for suggesting that there was anything wrong with this individual and his resume, and it’s amazing those words will come back to haunt him because they’re his words,” Constant said.
Emma Jacobson says it’s about time the truth came out. She’s a registered nurse and says Gerace fired her when they both worked at Visit Healthcare, a national healthcare provider with centers in Anchorage. She says last May Gerace became suspicious when she started looking into his background. She says she discovered he did not have several health certifications he claimed were on his resume.
When she heard Anchorage was hiring him as the city’s Health Director, she spoke up.
“I repeated that this man was not qualified for this position by education, by his professional experience and that there were too many discrepancies,” Jacobson said.
She says, at the time, nobody paid much attention, except for assembly member Jamie Allard, who later called her up.
“She accused me of lying and, ‘how dare I say these things about this good man’ and, ‘I’d better watch my back or they’re going to come after me’,” Jacobson said. “They were stated threats.”