Anchorage’s deputy health director resigns

Dave D'Amato discusses the homeless improvements at the Sullivan Arena.
Dave D’Amato (Adam Nicely/Alaska Public Media)

A top Anchorage health official has resigned. Deputy health director Dave D’Amato announced his resignation on Thursday, according to the mayor’s office. 

It’s unclear what prompted him to resign about three months into the job.

D’Amato declined to comment when reached by phone Friday, referring questions to the mayor’s office. City officials did not give a reason for D’Amato’s resignation. 

D’Amato was hired by Bronson’s team in November and oversaw the Division of Human Services, which includes Homelessness and Housing Services. Before that, he worked as a health care lobbyist. 

D’Amato had garnered controversy for comments he made over the city’s homeless population, including increasing trespassing penalties and advocating for keeping people who are homeless away from public places by using private security guards. 

During D’Amato’s tenure at the city, he served on a six-person group with Assembly members and other city officials tasked with planning a way to move out of the large Sullivan Arena shelter. 

In an interview Friday, Bronson spokesman Corey Allen Young said Anchorage Health Department director Joe Gerace is mostly responsible for issues related to homelessness in the city. Moving forward, Young said, the city health department is continuing with its exit strategy for the mass care shelter at the Sullivan Arena.

“The goal is the same, to get our most vulnerable into the places they need,” Young said.

Young said the city is looking to fill the deputy health director job. The position is not subject to Assembly approval.

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