The Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Public Media went after the Anchorage Health Department director with their long knives this week. After Joe Gerace was released from the hospital following a serious stroke, the reporters moved in on him with information they dug up that showed he had embellished his resume.
In their own words, they said they “confronted” him. Gerace probably wishes he had not taken the meeting.
Then, Gerace had another stroke incident and quickly resigned. The stress of the job was too much and he needs to focus on his own health after serving in the Covid wars for the past two years, both as a city health director and as a volunteer in the Alaska State Defense Force.
It’s not quite fair to say reporters gave him a stroke, but they didn’t flinch at driving the knife in when he was medically fragile.
The blood lust was satisfied for the leftist media, for the moment at least. They have taken out the leader of the city’s response to the Covid pandemic and the much-fought-over homelessness problem, all of which the reporters have been quite critical. Reporters from the mainstream media have made it even more difficult for the Municipality to do its work to address the needs of the poor, the lame, and the sick.
The goal? To ensure the failure of the Bronson Administration. It’s the media’s war on Bronson, and they can now add another notch in their belts for winning this scalp. No one will want to work for the Bronson Administration, what with the attacks on them by the media for everything from their resume to their divorces and any past financial struggles.
In this case, the reporting had all the flair of a Watergate expose. The writers went far and above the call of duty, accusing Gerace of things that were not true, while revealing other things that are, evidently true, such as: Gerace doesn’t have a master’s degree, as his resume states he has.
Mayor Dave Bronson issued a statement today: “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. I expect an in-depth and thorough investigation into this matter, and HR hiring practices moving forward.”
A Must Read Alaska review of Gerace’s resume, given to the municipality at the outset of the Bronson administration, finds some creative license was taken, but 90% of it appears to be accurate enough. Gerace has a documented history of service in the Alaska State Defense Force, which is overseen by Alaska National Guard Adjutant General Torrence Saxe, and which works hand in hand with the Alaska National Guard. He just isn’t in the Guard, but he doesn’t claim to be in the Guard in this resume. Instead, it’s an inference.
Update: MRAK obtained a letter from the Alaska National Guard that says it called him to active duty for Covid.
Here is what Gerace’s resume says:
“Beginning in Jan of 2020, I started to assist the Alaska Guard/OHS & EM with response planning for a pandemic. I served as a subject matter expert on several topics in the State EOC. In March of 2020 I was called to State Active Duty (StAD) and served in a mix of pandemic response roles. I served on Joint Taskforce Medical providing direct medical and logistical support of the AKNG pandemic mission. I had additional responsibilities of the Covid screening program at the AKNG Headquarters. In partnership with L TC Sanders, we checked-in, inspected and tested all reporting AKNG soldiers who had been activated for the Covid 19 response in Alaska. As the pandemic transformed, I was assigned to support DHSS. My DHSS role at first was to lead a Covid-19 contact tracing team, later the role expanded to include helping citizens get scheduled for vaccinations and MAB treatments. I departed StAD in March of 2021, returning to regular drill status, to assume my current role at Visit Healthcare. I continue to serve in the 49th Brigade, ASDF. During my activation I oversaw the creation of a new EMS agency for statewide response to medical situations.”
All of that appears to be accurate and corroborated by the National Guard in its own reporting. in 2020:
“More than 30 Alaska National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, Alaska State Defense Force Soldiers, and other DMVA personnel volunteered to give blood at the National Guard Armory here yesterday in coordination with the Blood Bank of Alaska.
“The blood drive was led by Lt. Col. Joseph Gerace, the 49th Brigade, Medical Detachment Commander of the ASDF, under the direction of the adjutant general of Alaska Maj. Gen Torrence Saxe.
“Gerace has been on state active duty orders since March and has worked as part of the medical section for Joint Task Force-Alaska in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Although this state is one of the least affected by the virus overall, I think we’ve been highly prepared and dialed in to respond to whatever comes our way,” Gerace said. “Drives like this are part of that.”
“Donors were met on the open drill hall floor of the armory by workers from the Blood Bank, before signing various medical questionnaires and taking their seats to donate.
“I’m impressed by everyone’s willingness to give back to their community during such a critical time of need,” said Gerace. “I expected that the Tuesday after Memorial Day would be a tough day to get volunteers. But all these folks stepped up, and we met our goal.”
“Donating blood products is essential to community health and the need for blood, plasma, and platelets is constant as part of our nation’s critical infrastructure, according to the American Red Cross. Blood drives like this can maintain and secure adequate supplies for blood transfusions for patients throughout Alaska.”
In its press release last year about Gerace being hired, the mayor’s office said, “Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson today named Joe Gerace as the Director of the Municipality of Anchorage Health Department. Mr. Gerace has more than 38 years’ experience in emergency service delivery and more than 20 years’ experience working in disaster response. He has worked as a firefighter, paramedic, red cross disaster responder, and as a medical detachment commander for the Alaska National Guard and the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management during the pandemic.” That press release was mistaken, unless being a medical detachment commander “for the Alaska National Guard” means in his role “in the Alaska State Defense Force,” in partnership with the Guard.
Must Read Alaska wasn’t able to reach Gerace to find out more about his educational background and active duty military service, but found he had served in the Washington State National Guard.
Here’s what the Alaska National Guard also wrote about Gerace:
“Lt. Col. Joseph Gerace, the 49th Brigade Medical Detachment Commander of the Alaska State Defense Force has a lifetime of experience in medical care and military service. He studied medicine at the university of Virginia and he’s the current president of the American Red Cross of Alaska. As a veteran of the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserves, he served as both an infantryman and a combat medic specialist. He has volunteered in both state and international disaster relief efforts, and works alongside his fellow ASDF Soldiers to keep Alaska safe, particularly in times of natural disasters or health emergencies.”
Was it necessary for the media to ask about Gerace’s divorce or child support payments? No, it was a case of excessive piling on by the leftwing media, but it’s what we have come to expect.
The point of this column is not to pile on a sick public employee who has left service to recover his heath, but to also demonstrate that the media slants the news not only by the words it chooses, the facts it brings to light, the insinuations it makes, but the very stories it decides to pursue. The partisan politics of personal destruction in Alaska journalism is still very much alive, and engorged with the blood of its latest victim.
View Joe Gerace’s resume here: