Anchorage Assembly files court appeal to obtain documents on probe into resigned health director

The Anchorage Assembly on Friday said it is filing an appeal with the state Superior Court in an effort to obtain records on the city’s investigation into the former health department director.

Mayor Dave Bronson in February declined to provide documents to the Assembly on an internal investigation into Joe Gerace, who resigned as city health director last year as an Alaska Public Media and American Public Media investigation revealed he had fabricated or exaggerated significant parts of his resume.

In denying the Assembly access to the investigation, the mayor said the documents are personnel records, so it would be against municipal code to release them. Bronson also said releasing them would violate privacy rights in the Alaska Constitution. The Assembly, in the Friday appeal to the Superior Court, disputes those claims, and Assembly leadership has said the public has a right to know about Gerace’s hiring and tenure at the department.

Assembly Vice Chair Chris Constant said Friday that court “is the natural place for these kinds of decisions to be made.”

“This is not an extraordinary action,” Constant said. “We have a disagreement of opinion on the question. There is no other process to have any decision made, one way or the other.”

Bronson, in a written statement Friday, said his administration “is reviewing the appeal and will follow the legal process as required.”