Allegations of illegal acts, one count of fraud, more questions from the Anchorage Assembly on the former health director

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Members of the Anchorage Assembly say a report by the Bronson administration does not provide enough detail about the hiring of former Health Department Director Joe Gerace.

“What report? Yeah, that’s what I thought,” Assembly Vice President Chris Constant said Wednesday morning.

The Assembly went into executive session Tuesday night to review documents from the investigation of Gerace, who fabricated much of his education and military background on his resume.

The Alaska Court System’s CourtView website shows Joe Gerace charged with fraud, which was filed on December 8 of last year.

The State of Alaska and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs are listed as plaintiffs. The Alaska Department of Justice says it had no additional information as of Wednesday afternoon.

“This is not yet in our system. I can update it when it becomes available,” department spokesman Sam Curtis said.

Gerace resigned abruptly in August of last year, citing ill health at the time. After the publication of an investigation into the content of Gerace’s resume by Alaska Public Media, Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration launched an investigation into Gerace’s hiring.

Constant says the assembly members relied on the city’s Director of Human Resources, Niki Tshibaka, to review the applicants’ information. How Gerace was able to fabricate his resume and still get hired became part of an administration investigation.

Constant says he’s pleased the changes have been made to the hiring process, but more serious questions remain about Gerace’s impact on Anchorage and city employees.

“It’s more the question of what did this person, who has clearly committed fraud, done to the people and to the processes of the municipality,” Constant said.

Constant says he didn’t want to talk about what the report revealed because it was delivered during executive session. He expects legal action to be taken before the findings can be made public.

The report comes after former city manager Amy Demboski accused the administration of a series of unethical and even illegal acts.

In an email sent on December 14, Demboski says the mayor used “illegal and unethical activities using municipal resources.”

His attorney then sent an 11-page demand letter to the mayor alleging inappropriate and possibly illegal behavior within Bronson’s office.

In addition, acting Anchorage City Attorney Blair Christensen tendered her resignation this week. A news release says that Christensen has worked for the municipality for nine years.

“My time working on behalf of the people of Anchorage has been one of the best jobs and honors of my life. The people I have been fortunate to work with and learn from have made this job special,” Christensen said in the statement. “I want to thank the mayor for his confidence in me over the last 5 months as I have served as Acting City Attorney.

Christensen was the third city attorney to serve under the Bronson administration.

Emails sent to the mayor’s office were not returned Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Alaska’s News Source asked the mayor to comment on the Assembly’s use of subpoena powers to investigate Gerace’s hiring. In addition, the mayor was asked to respond to Constant’s accusations that his administration is “always spoiling” the truth and lies.

“The Administration recommended this process to the Assembly to protect the City from potential legal action and to safeguard Mr. Gerace’s right to privacy,” a spokesperson wrote in response.

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