Audit reveals illegal payment to 110 Puerto Rico Education employees
SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Treasury Secretary Raúl Maldonado announced Monday some of the findings of a payroll audit underway at several government agencies: The Education Department made illegal payments to 110 of its employees.
“In the Education Department, one of the government’s main components, we found serious results that result in complications for Puerto Rico’s fiscal health and that were never corrected in the past,” Maldonado said in a written statement.
He explained that the investigation was carried out with Education Secretary Julia Keleher to correct years-long practices to eliminate illegal spending.
“The audit revealed that 110 of these employees are on leave or ended their employment with the Education Department, so the payment of their salary is an illegal and unjustified expense. The most important finding…was that these 110 employees were active in the system for the second [15-day pay period] of January. The remaining 546 were absent or had been relocated to other schools,” Maldonado said.
He assured that Treasury personnel immediately began the process of requesting files and confirming the date on which the Education employees concluded their work and halt the corresponding payments. He announced that those who received undue payments will be required to return them.
He said Treasury employees and consultants visited 44 schools in the San Juan and Ponce regions. They conducted the audit based on payrolls reported to Treasury, as well as the Education Department’s roster, which indicates where employees are located.
He noted that during the Feb. 14-16 school visits, of the 2,204 employees (teachers and non-teaching employees) in Education’s list, 656 where not found on school grounds and that 162 people working at the schools did not appear on the roster.
Maldonado said the findings of visits to the departments of Health, Family (and related entities), Corrections & Rehabilitation, and Transportation & Public Works will be announced shortly. He said the unannounced visits will continue until all government agencies are verified.