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Embattled Pasadena health director offered post in Georgia

Pasadena Public Health Director Eric Walsh was offered a job in Georgia after anti-gay sermons came to light

Beleaguered Pasadena Public Health Director Dr. Eric Walsh has been offered a position leading a public health district in north Georgia, though officials there said they were unaware he'd been placed on leave.

Walsh, a Seventh-day Adventist preacher, was placed on temporary paid leave after Pasadena officials discovered sermons posted online in which Walsh criticizes homosexuality and calls evolution a "religion created by Satan."

The resulting controversy also prompted Walsh to withdraw as Pasadena City College's commencement speaker. Walsh had been tapped to replace gay screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who ultimately gave the speech.

Georgia officials said Walsh interviewed for the job less than 10 days ago and received an offer letter from the Georgia Public Health Department that asked him to start in mid June, said spokesman Ryan Deal. Walsh has been under consideration for more than a month.

The offer was contingent on passing a background check, and during his interview, Walsh did not mention the controversial sermons or that he was on paid leave, Deal said.

Georgia officials found the headlines about Walsh's sermons during a background check they conducted during the final phase of the hiring process, Deal said.

The headlines have raised some concerns, but Deal did not say whether Walsh's offer would be rescinded because he could not comment on a "human resources" issue.

If hired, Walsh would take the helm at a public health department that oversees six counties in northern Georgia. He would become one of the highest-ranking employees in a department of more than 6,000, Deal said.

"It is paramount that the person ultimately hired for this job come equipped with the knowledge, skill set  and sensitivities to our very diverse North Georgia population," Deal said.

Walsh has not yet submitted a letter of resignation to Pasadena city officials, said spokesman William Boyer.




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