Thursday, July 20, 2017

Puerto Rico fiscal board seeks stateside public relations firm

By on May 18, 2017

Fiscal Oversight & Management Board (Juan J. Rodríguez/CB)

SAN JUAN – Promesa’s fiscal control board launched this week a new request for proposals (RFP), this time in search of a U.S. mainland-based public relations firm.

According to the RFP document, the board seeks a firm specializing in government and public relations to assist “in efforts to communicate with federal government officials, the national investor community and national, financial trade and other specialized media outlets.”

Specifically, interested firms must be able to facilitate “proactive and reactive” outreach with Capitol Hill, investors and “key national, financial trade and other specialized media outlets” in everything related to Puerto Rico’s debt restructuring and the fiscal board’s role.

Likewise, the firm must analyze scenarios that could arise regarding the board’s work on the island’s fiscal situation and recommend strategies to deal with them. The firm would also be in charge of preparing and organizing press conferences, as well as of drafting and assisting in statements, comments and op-ed columns.

The RFP, which expires May 31, adds that the selected firm will work in coordination with the board’s executive director, Natalie Jaresko, and its “chief communications and public relations counsel.” However, it is not clear who serves the latter role on the board.

Meanwhile, Forculus—a Puerto Rico-based firma led by Executive Director Francisco Cimadevilla and Edward Zayas—has handled public relations for the entity created by the federal Promesa law.

Forculus was retained in October and its contract runs until June 30. Both Cimadevilla and Zayas are paid $200 an hour, plus expenses. Other “members, employees or authorized contractors” of the firm work at a rate of $125 an hour.

Meanwhile, the board recently announced the hiring of Robert Keach and Bernstein Shur Sawyer & Nelson to review the reasonableness of fees paid by the entity, as well as expenses reimbursement requests it receives. The agreement states that upon completion of its services, the Maine-based firm will not charge more than $250 an hour under a blended rate, not including reimbursable expenses.

The fiscal board’s contracts so far include those with law firms Proskauer Rose; Luskin, Sten & Eisler; O’Neill & Borges; A&S Legal Studio; and Acosta & Ramírez; as well as financial advisers McKinsey & Co. and Citi; Pension Trustee Advisors, which specializes in retirement systems; and the Ernst & Young accounting firm.

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