The media’s kill shot on Anchorage’s health director

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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:

61 COMMENTS

  1. Well he certainly put in the long hours and did a great job. I hope his health stabilizes now. Thanking him for his service to Alaska and Anchorage.

    • He did a terrible job, and now we know why… He had zero training or education and didn’t know what he was doing.

      He tried to fake it until he made it, and failed massively.

      • No. He did an extraordinary job. I’m proud of the work he did. You couldn’t have found anyone with more grit.

  2. Yes media affects actual news.

    Like the term “kill shot” that you used in the headline to slant to your own media’s view.

    • Most of the Alaska media are not journalists but propagandists and beyond that, just terrible human beings- almost to a person.

      • The oily voiced female reporter on “Alaska’s News Source” is a nonstarter for me. She was a carryover from KTVA. Every time she speaks, I turn off the news and do something else more productive, like wash the dishes or clip my toenails – the most irritating “news” reporter I ever heard. The squeaking and squawking has improved, possibly with voice coaching, but I still can’t listen to her smarmy presentation. Yuk! Just a personal opinion.

    • Isn’t that how the MSM is propagandizing our citizenry with 24/7 BS. Must smart a little when it sometimes works both ways. Snort!

  3. I hope Joe is on the mend and surrounded by people who know and care for him and he will effect a full recovery.

  4. Usually, a high percentage of the Left-wing media types are homosexuals. You could look it up. It’s called gay-rage witch-hunting. Looking for a reason, anything, to get rid of a heterosexual conservative who works in the upper echolons of government. A stroke or a heart attack typically allows little contemplation time for the victim. HIV, AIDS, and Monkeypox create complications and burdens for the afflicted, but is not an immediate health crises. Harassment is the weapon of choice for homosexuals who are hellbent on political revenge. Gay rage is a real mental illness.

  5. I wish Mr. Gerace no harm and hope he recovers well. But this post is beyond the pale in making excuses for a clear fraud–the wraith of the column is saved for the media outlets that conducted an investigation and revealed fraud. Mr. Gerace does not deserve apologies–he owes us one.

  6. KTUU can’t wait to jump on Joe Gerace over his qualifications but the School Board hired a completely unqualified Superintendent with a huge payday and nobody says a thing about it.

    The “news” is not longer what is happening, it is what the “news” organizations want you to believe.

    • Robert. I e mailed Margo Bellamy , school board member about the qualifications of the Superintendent. She stated that he was well qualified. As stated previously in Must Read Alaska, he did not meet the state requirements of having been a teacher for 3 years. Ms. Bellamy said it was misinformation and I asked her to define misinformation She ended up telling me that he was fully certified July2022. So I am sure they did some rangling to get him certified. I read where he stated that he is Equity driven. My advice to Anchorage parents..get your students out of the Anchorage schools as quickly as possible as they will be indoctrinated not taught what they need to know to pass necessary exams. Last I read we are at the bottom of the 50 states in 4th grade reading.

  7. Correction – “the HR Director for the Municipality is the spouse of the little princess’s opponent for the U.S. Senate”

  8. While it is very clear the ADN holds a clear bias against the mayor, it is also very clear that this guy did much worse than merely inflate his resume.

    To falsely portray that he has two master degrees is beyond the pale.

  9. Back in the day, we performed reference checks and background checks on applicants who were considered for employment. Many former employers were reluctant to provide responses. Many times, however, they would respond to the question, “Would you rehire this individual?”What happened here? Is it no longer customary to check out a prospective hire, or is the liability too great? Just asking.

  10. What part of the media’s coverage was false? Did this guy lie (not embellish – lie; as in claiming 5 military deployments) or not?
    Be fair; flip the coin: if this guy was some woke leftist, scamming his way into a high-paying job in the newly-elected Gara administration, would this blog soften the tone because the stress of his fabrications caused him to blow a gasket?
    Answer please.

    • We have some due process required before we can entertain decent and in order personal comments regarding US Constitution invested freemen. Process due = Executive Session at least. (When is that scheduled). Remember it’s possible all process due for everything has been egregiously breached to date. Like running a health clinic without it being properly licensed without authority from inception to date outside of consent of taxpayers and inhabitants of Anchorage if that means anything.

  11. If we are going to rise above the left, we need to hold our own to higher standards and accountability. I’ve read his resume and I’m not sure this guy was qualified. And to infer he was a physicians assistant or even to allow someone to think that is breaking the Code of Conduct with our State Medical Board.

    We need to do better if we are going to get rid of the Assembly 6 and NOT give them any more ammunition like this.

  12. If you edit someone’s comments for reasons other than grammar, and then reconstruct a sentence, isn’t it your comment- not the readers Suzanne? I think you have a blind spot here Suzanne- telling you this as someone who likes your work.

    While it is very clear the ADN holds a clear bias against the mayor, it is also very clear that this guy did much worse than merely inflate his resume.

    To portray that he was a Lt. Colonel with two master degrees is beyond the pale. Ask any active, or retired member of the military how grave a sin this is.

    • M, it is apparent that he is a lt. col. in the story. I have extensive documentation on this. Please don’t add to the misinformation out there.- sd

      • A LTC in what organization? Alaska Army National Guard and Alaska State Defense Force are two completely separate organizations…..

      • He is a Lt. Col. in a play acting role and not in the Alaska National Guard. It is virtually impossible to be appointed a Lt. Col. after only getting as high a spec 4 in US Army but likely those responsible will be outed for their incompetence.
        Gerace has been outed for the fraud he is and your attempting to take his side here is pitiful IMO.

      • I worked with this man at Visit. He lied repetitively and did represent himself as a colonel in the gaurd and a physicians assistant among other things.

    • Technically he is a Lt. Colonel in the Alaska State Defense Force, but it is unknown how he attained that rank.

      The Alaska State Defense Force is full of former military members. When those members join the Alaska State Defense Force, they usually are given the same rank they had when they were in the military.

      He was an E4 when he left the Army and became a Lt. Colonel when he joined the Alaska State Defense Force.

      An E4 is an Army Specialist and is only 3 ranks higher then the entry level one attains when they enlist. They are also not commissioned officers.

      A Lt. Colonel is a commissioned officer rank that is two ranks below a General.

      How did he jump so high so fast? Could it be he embellished his resume like he did to get the Anchorage Health Director job?

      • An E-4/Spec-4 and an E-4/Corporal are comparable, but not identical. A 4-year college degree, without prior service, allows you to enlist with the automatic rank of an E-4/Spec-4. Without a college degree, you must start at the bottom and spend years working your way up to an E-4/Corporal.
        Degrees, prior service, valuable skill-sets, and much more can get one into the higher levels. Often it may not be very evident why, because most organizations of any type have deliberately left the qualifying criteria vague, to retain flexibility.

        • To add: An E-4/Spec-4 is staff, while an E-4/Corporal is line. Spec’s are support, while line is combat.

        • While you may be correct today, that was not the case in 1967 when I was drafted into US Army with a college degree. When did it change?
          By the way, I was promosted to Spec-4 prior to finishing my 2-year hitch.

          • During the draft era, RA’s had choices, while US’s had none. Still, a degree got one fast-tracked.
            In 64 I enlisted (RA) and had my choice of MOS. I chose staff because that’s the best route to learning TO&E.
            Line just puts a weapon in your hands, with instructions to put one of your two issued dog-tags inside your right boot … which increases the chance of identifying your remains … if there are any.

          • I’ll say this about the choices the RAs had: The fine print mentions that there has to be an opening for their choice and according to the drill sergeants (in my basic training) they were all going to end up in Nam with a rifle.
            But I was speaking of the automatic entry level of E-4 if a college degree was involved-that was not the case back then and you haven’t said when it became the norm. I suspect this is more of your BS.

          • I said above: “During the draft era, RA’s had choices, while US’s had none.” The inference being that when the draft ended, the college degree Speck-4, ended for everyone.
            “I suspect this is more of your BS.”
            More of my BS? OK. We know where I stand with you, but the question is why? Do you have a well thought out reason, or is it just your gut reaction to anyone who doesn’t fully agree with whatever position you have taken?
            Do you drive an automatic, because it’s too difficult for you to shift gears when the road starts getting rough?
            If you’re going to insult anyone on MRAK, at least have some finesse: so that it will at least be entertaining to the other commentators.
            I had a guy once tell me that he won all his debates in college. I asked him if it was because he was so good, or because his opponents were so bad?
            Haven’t heard from him since, unless he changed his handle.
            Ahahahahahahaha!

          • Well Joseph, you just want to beat around the bush rather than say what you mean. And further, you likely don’t mean what you say either.
            Which is it? Inferences don’t mean a thing, except in your mind. There was no enlisting as an E-4 (with college degree) during the draft era, or at least in 67-68 when I served. Your suggesting RAs had choices the USs didn’t have is true, to some extent, but did not include enlisting as E-4 with a college degree and that is reasoning for the BS comment.
            You can try all you want to defend your original comment but I suspect you got nothing. But do take your time and good luck as you’ll need it IMO.

          • I googled it and you’re correct that Spec-4 degree is still ongoing.
            However, you’re still a jerk for the way you went about showing me up.

  13. Every man to his best judgement! Each to the following consequences. Life is what we make it! If Gerace’s “aspirations” out distanced his better judgement, he now reaps the consequences! That’s life.

  14. “he’s the current president of the American Red Cross of Alaska.”

    After checking the web page for the Alaska Region of the Red Cross, I found all their key personnel listed. No “president” and no Joe Gerace…..

  15. While I wish Mr. Gerace no I’ll will, and hope he recovers, this article soft pedals what sounds like pretty egregious misconduct by Mr. Gerace. For example: He claimed to have two masters degrees, when in fact he doesn’t have one master’s degree, let alone two. He also claimed to be a member of the National Guard, which is not true. He enlisted in the Washington National Guard in 1991 and then transferred to the Army Reserves. When he left the service in 1999, records show, his rank was E-4, or “specialist”, which is the next rank above a private. His rank of Lieutenant Colonel is from a volunteer militia group, an organization that is not part of the U.S. military. Although Gerace served just 8 years in the military, he has claimed on job applications that he had 24 years of service. Even though he never was deployed to combat when he was in the military, he has claimed he had 5 combat deployments. All of these facts can be found in the news articles reporting these developments.

  16. As a healthcare professional (Physician Assistant) his representing himself as a PA or paramedic is entirely unacceptable and hurts the profession when such a person makes decisions inconsistent with our training. I do not doubt he a person with deep insecurities that feels the uncontrollably need to lie to present himself more favorably to the world. As mentioned this pathological liar put in long hour and did some good work in his role. But he hurt those trusting him especially the homeless population our city and Mayor Bronson who trusted him to bring a clinical, medical perspective to the issues facing our city that he simply did not have the training or experience to offer. I say all this as a conservative praying for the Bronson administration’s success especially in helping the homeless. Hire an Alaska licensed and practicing medical or nursing professional next time. I can check in 2 min on stated if they have an (thoroughly vetted I know) Alaska state license.

  17. As a healthcare professional (Physician Assistant) his representing himself as a PA or paramedic is entirely unacceptable and hurts the profession when such a person makes decisions inconsistent with our training. I do not doubt he a person with deep insecurities that feels the uncontrollably need to lie to present himself more favorably to the world. As mentioned this pathological liar put in long hour and did some good work in his role. But he hurt those trusting him especially the homeless population our city and Mayor Bronson who trusted him to bring a clinical, medical perspective to the issues facing our city that he simply did not have the training or experience to offer. I say all this as a conservative praying for the Bronson administration’s success especially in helping the homeless. Hire an Alaska licensed and practicing medical or nursing professional next time. I can check in 2 min on a state website if they have an (thoroughly vetted I know) Alaska state license.

  18. The city shouldn’t be setting up quazi pseudo health clinic look-alikes anyway. We want passable roads etc. and no poisons in the water. We will select our own medical advice not medical advice of dingbats on the oversized self-aggrandizing assembly.

  19. Bronson ran off a very good health Director who was a licensed doctor and has decimated the MOA Health Department. It is clear that anyone competent with morals will not work for Bronson. The next mayor will have a huge task to rebuild MOA’s Health Department

    • I’m glad he did. Doctors don’t need to work for a city corporation. We have no authority to have a “health” department over our neighbors. Close that special privilege down. THINK of the lessening of liability and reduced costs.

    • Who was the “very good health official” Frank? I know you are not talking about “tour the lower 48 while we lock you down” Ann Zink. You’ve got to be drunk if you think she was good. Also just how exactly did mayor Bronson “run her off”? I recall she left on her own accord to travel with her homeschooled kids. You make this up as you go don’t you?

    • IMO it was just another “good old boys” bastion. Maybe redoubt would better describe it, as the MOA HD was just a Klingon at best.

  20. Show me the express US Constitutional authority delegated to the municipality corporation of Anchorage to to direct medical orders over the freemen who live here. Show me. It isn’t there. The nine jerks we have the bad luck to occupy seats as directors of the Anchorage corporation cannot call an Article 5 National Constitution to change and add the authority to the US Constitution. You are stuck having to learn a new fact against your will. James Madison limited you.

  21. Suzanne, there is some fault here by the assembly, but the vast majority of the fault lies at Niki Tshibaka and the Mayor’s feet. This is not some attack by the liberal media, this is a guy who lied extensively about his credentials and qualifications and an Administration that did nothing to look into it, even though they were warned about it before Bronson appointed him. Really disappointing reporting here by you.

  22. We need a legal professional’s perspective on ethical matters. Where’s that foul mouthed STD soaked skank that was angling to get fired from her bush league city atty job? She’d be perfect.

  23. This misrepresentation by an individual and thus hired by this administration, no matter that they followed historical hiring processes shall be the first ‘reason’ to remove the mayor by the assembly under its’ new overseeing ordinance.

    Guaranteed.

    Any excuse is good enough for constantly overreaching Constant.

    And he is salivating, literally, at this opportunity, no matter how much it has nothing to do with the mayor himself.

  24. Galeutian, you needn’t elaborate on anything and undermine yourself. Don’t let anybody challenge your native intelligence! Chin up and belly to the wind!

  25. I believe the “Health” Dept is extraneous to the municipal corporate mission of defense of the people’s Constitutional property rights. Clinics and hospitals have rigorous reviews in order to operate in the medical provider business. Why be look alikes WHILE avoiding required authentication while not having any constitutional authority – a detail we are not to notice.

  26. According to many people, this guy did a terrible job, was over his head, lied constantly, and weaseled his way in. Ok, I can actually buy that. But ironically he believed in limited government control because people in government often times do terrible work, don’t realize when things are over their head, lie constantly and weasel their way into power while being arrogant AF. I do care a lot about honesty and integrity and if he lied about getting a masters degree, he should be sent on his merry way without too much honor, but if I’m honest, he did far less to screw things up for everyday people than most health directors and that’s what has the ADN and the left pissed off more than anything. “Everyone in the MOA health department left under Bronson” Sounds great to me. Who needs their self righteous arrogance that did more harm than good under Berky and AQD.

  27. So on Tuesday can we expect this to be the impetus in the impending expulsion of mayor Bronson by the leftist nine? Im guessing this will be more than enough for them to question their trust and his judgement. At the least this will be one of the arrows in the quiver they use against him when the time comes. Oh well, most people in this town don’t care, don’t vote or just don’t know about the blueing of anchorage.

  28. i am looking forward to your continued indignant reporting on the abuse of this obviously great leader and glorious veteran

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