Dr. Eric Walsh submitted his resignation as the director of the Pasadena Public Health Department and has accepted a new position in Georgia. The Pasadena Star News reports that he's been hired by Georgia's public health department pending a background check.
In a terse press release sent Wednesday afternoon on May 14 city manager Michael Beck said, “We appreciate Dr. Walsh’s service to the City of Pasadena and wish him continued success. The City will now begin a nationwide search for a new director of the Public Health Department.”
The resignation is effective immediately. None of Dr. Walsh's milestones achieved during his tenure such as opening the state's first city-run dental clinic or opening the HIV clinic were noted in the 4-line release.
The turmoil leading to his resignation began in April when Pasadena City College rescinded an invitation to filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, a gay activist who won an Academy Award and Writer's Guild award for the 2008 film Milk. Student groups protested and Dr. Walsh, an associate pastor with the Seventh Day Adventist Church was named commencement speaker.
A video of a sermon given in 2006 to a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church in Upland was uncovered and showed Dr. Walsh making comments that included speaking out against homosexuality and referring to Pope John Paul as the anti-Christ.
The Southern California Conference of the SDA distanced itself from Dr. Walsh and his comments in less than a week after the sermons were reported.
The city placed him on paid administrative leave. In Georgia, Dr. Walsh will head up to a 6-county consortium once details are finalized and he begins his new position on June 16.
A summary of the city's health department goals are available on its web site.
Dustin Lance Black's web site links to a Hollywood Reporter article about developing a LGBT mini-series for ABC.