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Superboard seeks territorial CEO
Health minister tells former employee about new position, stresses that he can't offer jobs

Meagan Leonard
Northern News Services
Friday, September 11, 2015

The Department of Health and Social Services will soon start its search for the person to helm the new health superboard to be established and based in Yellowknife next spring.

In June, Bill 44 was passed in the legislative assembly which allows the amalgamation of the territory's eight health authorities into one unilateral system with Hay River to join at a later date. Each of the previous health authorities will have one seat on the new board, led by a new territorial CEO.

"When the new NWT Health and Social Services Authority is established on April 1, 2016, the intent is to establish a new chief executive officer position for that organization," stated department spokesperson Damien Healy in an e-mail. "Although we do not know the precise timing, recruitment for this position will begin sometime in the fall."

Healy said once the territorial CEO is in place, the role of individual authority CEOs will change but he could not specify what those changes may be.

"As a result of integration of existing health and social services authorities into the new NWT HSSA, the roles of existing chief executive officers and Stanton Territorial Health Authority and other health and social services authorities will change," he stated in an e-mail. "The details of the new organizational structures are still being worked out."

In May, Health Minister Glen Abernethy met with former Alberta Health Services co-CEO Rick Trimp resulting in speculation in other local media he was being considered for the position of Stanton CEO.

Sue Cullen has since been appointed the interim CEO of Stanton from Sept. 10 until March 31, 2016.

In an e-mailed statement to Yellowknifer, Abernethy said Trimp expressed interest in possible job openings with the department but they did not talk specifics.

Trimp served as the department's director of territorial services in the early millennium, later taking a job with the Government of Saskatchewan as executive director of public health.

"(Trimp) indicated an interest in returning to the North. I did mention a new territorial CEO position would be established as part of system reform but I have no involvement whatsoever in staffing decisions," he explained. "I encouraged him to submit an application if and when the CEO position comes open."

Most recently Trimp served as vice-president and co-CEO of Alberta Health Services but was ousted from the position last fall following a corporate restructuring. Little was said about the reasoning behind Trimp's departure but some have cited the decision to award a $3 billion contract for construction of a private medical lab in Edmonton to an Australian company, through a public-private partnership, or P3.

Soon after Trimp left the position, the P3 plan was scrapped.

Journalist David Climenhaga who writes for the Globe and Mail and Calgary Herald, followed the story and told Yellowknifer the events of last fall remain murky, but there is no proof anything improper occurred.

"To this date no one has explained why AHS would have chosen this particular Australian company, or any Australian company, to do this particular job," he stated in an e-mail. "The decision didn't make much sense."

Abernethy emphasized he cannot offer anyone jobs in the department and he has not spoken to Trimp since their initial meeting.

"I did not, and cannot, offer Mr. Trimp a position in the NWT public service or health-care system," he said. "When it comes to recruitment, I am confident that officials at human resources, health and social services and the authorities do their due diligence in any and all staffing positions."

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