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Ed Picco announches his departure from politics in a January 2008 television interview with CBC. Picco was Nunavut's education minister and government house leader in the second legislative assembly. ((CBC))

Former Nunavut cabinet minister Ed Picco is returning to the territorial government, this time as principal secretary to Premier Peter Taptuna.

Picco was among the several appointments to senior positions announced this week.

In his new role, he’ll offer political advice to the premier and support him in his role.

“I’m quite confident,” Picco says. “I know the majority of the players, the people, and I know many of the ministers and the MLAs personally."

Picco has lived in the territory for 30 years.

In that time, he served as an elected member of the legislature for 14 years, starting as an MLA in the Northwest Territories government, followed by two terms in the first two Nunavut legislative assemblies.

He held several cabinet posts including Education, Health and Social Services, Immigration, Homelessness and Energy.

Picco declined to run in the 2008 election, instead opting for a senior job with First Air.  

It’s not clear where outgoing principal secretary, Alain Barriault, former president of the Nunavut Housing Corporation, will end up.

In the news release, the premier notes, “I am optimistic that we can continue to engage his services in another capacity within the public service.”

3 new deputy ministers

A news release this week also announced several senior staff appointments.

  • Lori Kimball, who had been acting president of the Nunavut Housing Corp. now officially takes on that position. She’s spent the past four years as chief financial officer there.
  • Gabriel Nirlungayuk is the new deputy minister for the Department of Environment. He joins the Nunavut government from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. where he most recently served as director of wildlife and environment.
  • Pauloosie Suvega replaces Bob Long as deputy minister of Economic Development and Transportation. Suvega has been with the government since 2004, most recently as an associate deputy minister.
  • Jim Stevens has been hired as assistant deputy minister of EDT on the transportation side. A former director of the Mackenzie Valley Highway in the Northwest Territories government, he won the post in a job search.
  • Bernie MacIsaac will become assistant deputy minister of EDT on the economic development side. MacIsaac has worked in lands and resources with Aboriginal Affairs and more recently, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.

3 retirements

The news release also announces three retirements this summer.

  • Bob Long retires from his post as deputy minister of EDT. He served as deputy minister since 2009, and retires from a 40-year career in business development and community economic development.
  • David Lloyd retires as assistant deputy minister of Education this summer. A former teacher and vice principal, he was influential in the Pathway to Adult Secondary School graduation program.
  • Sandy Teiman retires as assistant deputy minister of Family Services after 33 years with the government. The former director of income support and labour market programs, she helped establish the new department when it was split from Health and Social Services.

“The GN is actively pursuing employment competitions for deputy and assistant deputy positions,” the news release says.