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Corbett’s Health Pick: Upgrade in Job Description, Downgrade in Real Estate,

Tom Corbett’s pick for Secretary of Health, New York health official Eli Avila, has professional qualifications that line up well with the position. But a New York Daily News story from 1999 shows that Avila might have difficulty adjusting to the mundane real estate of Harrisburg.

From the New York Daily News, April 18 1999:

“Eli Avila, a first generation Puerto Rican, grew up in the Amsterdam Houses on West 61st St. Today, this doctor lives in a 4,300-square-foot drop-dead gorgeous mansion on Hamilton Terrace, a landmark district in Harlem. Its features are enough to bring tears of envy to the eyes of any New Yorker: polished-granite surfaces and onyx walls in its six bedrooms, four full baths, a whirlpool, a sauna, seven fireplaces and a private movie theater.

“Avila, 39, said he’s able to keep his mortgage on the mansion just a couple of hundred dollars more than the $1,300-a-month rent on his old two-bedroom apartment on 10th Ave. and 58th St. by having put down a large downpayment and taking advantage of the low interest rates.”

His transition to Health Secretary seems straightforward. In his current position with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, Avila directs a workforce of 1,600 and a budget of $400 million. Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has 1,700 employees and a budget of about $1 billion, according to the Inquirer.

And maybe the transition to Harrisburg won’t be so difficult either. The Wall Street Journal reports that Avila and his family currently live on Long Island in Hampton Bays.

Kudos to the watchful politico who uncovered this one.

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