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Handley takes on health deficit
Former premier now 'one-person board' for Stanton Territorial Health Authority

Galit Rodan
Northern News Services
Published Friday, December 23, 2011

Former premier Joe Handley has been appointed Public Administrator of the Stanton Territorial Health Authority according to a government news release.

Happy Holidays from NNSL

Joe Handley: Has been appointed as the Public Administrator of the Stanton Territorial Health Authority.

Handley said he would be fulfilling the decision-making role typically assigned to a board of directors.

"They dissolved the board some time ago and I'm now the one-person board," he said.

Handley was appointed by Health Minister Tom Beaulieu, effective Dec. 1. Though Handley handled a wide variety of portfolios during his time as a minister and deputy minister in the legislative assembly, he has no background in health. He emphasized, though, that he was hired to make major administrative decisions, not medical ones.

"I'm not a doctor. You wouldn't want me to do surgery on you," he joked.

Handley said the position is challenging but not onerous - it requires a commitment of only two days per month for two years. Still, the hospital is facing some considerable fiscal challenges that Handley must now address, such as reversing its operating deficit.

"At some point you've got to fit the programs to the budget or the other way around," said Handley.

There is also the issue of finding funding to move forward with renovations.

"Building hospital space is very expensive," said Handley. "So that's a $200 million project as it's proposed so we have to look at that and just say, 'Okay, how do we finance that? How do we pay for that?' Because the government doesn't have anywhere near that money in their capital budget."

Handley, 68, is officially retired but said he continues to take on projects and roles he finds interesting and challenging.

"You can't just watch TV all day," he said.

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