Do you know who he used to be?
If you somehow failed to learn that Eli Avila was, however briefly, no less than the secretary of health of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you have only yourself to blame. That’s because, starting with the infamous existential demand he reportedly directed at a Harrisburg hash slinger — “Do you know who I am?” — Avila took great pains to make his identity known well beyond the confines of the capital.
Last week, Gov. Corbett announced Avila’s departure from the cabinet after less than two years. The governor noted only Avila’s considerable qualifications, contributions to the general welfare, and proverbial desire to spend more time with his family (who had remained behind in their native New York). If the secretary’s short stay had anything to do with the confrontations and miscues in his wake, Corbett didn’t say so.
In any case, early retirement was a generous sentence for Avila, whose comic misadventures suggested a serious predilection for taking improper advantage of his power — however modest it was in the scheme of things.