Expectations Grow Over Who Puerto Rico’s Governor Will Designate as Chief of Staff
Editor’s note: The following article originally appeared in the May 10-18, 2018, print issue of Caribbean Business.
Following a Puerto Rico Justice Department referral to the special independent prosecutors office to investigate whether there was any wrongdoing stemming from the participation in an online messaging application group during the 2016 gubernatorial campaign, which led to the resignation of Chief of Staff William Villafañe, expectation is mounting about who will be “the governor’s new right-hand person.”
Several experts on island politics have declared that partisanship should be put aside when Gov. Ricardo Rosselló designates Villafañe’s successor.
Describing the role as essential, Antonio “Tony” Quiñones Calderón, the press secretary for former Govs. Luis A. Ferré and Carlos Romero Barceló, said the next chief of staff should be a firm leader and have absolute knowledge of government as well as of the island’s social, cultural and political history.
“The first quality of a chief of staff is to exhibit effective leadership that [makes it clear] to all secretaries of agencies and heads of public corporations, in such a way they are convinced they don’t have to alter that hierarchy to express their problems to the governor,” the former press secretary said.
Regarding the chief of staff ’s role, Quiñones Calderón said the person named must be convinced “government is not to favor the majority and jeopardize minorities,” but rather is a platform to direct work that benefits everyone.
“The chief of staff is a necessary channel prior to the governor. It has to be a person with a well-prepared spirit to know how to discern the positive or adverse consequences of every decision that’s made,” the experienced press secretary said.
In the same vein, a veteran New Progressive Party (NPP) politician, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Caribbean Business the chief of staff must project confidence in their actions, adding that it was a quality Villafañe did not exude.