Fiscal Board Appoints Ramón Ruiz as Interim Executive Director
FAJARDO — The president of Promesa’s Fiscal Oversight & Management Board, José Carrión III, announced Saturday that Ramón Ruiz Comas will act as executive director of the board, which comprises seven members and a representative of the government without a vote.
The announcement was made during the fourth public meeting of the body, the second to be held on the island at the El Conquistador Hotel in Fajardo, which was guarded by hundreds of police and three checkpoints. Contrary to what happened in past meetings, there were no protests from sectors that oppose the board and its actions.
The board, which has been in place for six months, had promised to have an executive director before the end of January. Carrión said they have had talks with over 100 people for the job and admitted that the selection process has been more difficult than expected.
The decision to appoint Ruiz on an interim basis was prompted by the “sense of urgency to begin certain processes. We approached Ramón and he accepted at this point in his life,” Carrión said, adding that he will earn $5,000 a month under the post.
Ruiz Comas, 59, is an authorized public accountant who worked for 25 years in insurance company Triple-S, where he participated in the conversion of the company to a for-profit entity.
“When I retired from Triple-S, I understood that it was essential to dedicate time to my family, the time that I had not been able to dedicate … I still think that I have to dedicate time to my family, but at this moment, I understood that Puerto Rico needed people who are willing to push the country forward,” said the interim director of the board during a press conference after the meeting.
Ruiz Comas will be in charge of finding a space to install the main offices of the fiscal control board in San Juan. The agency will also have offices in Washington D.C. and in New York City, said Carrión.
“We will be sensitive about the expenses that we will incur … We will ensure that the objectives of Promesa are met,” said Ruiz on the selection of the offices of the board, which has received at the moment $14 million from the government. Of that money, only a little more than $3 million has been used, which has been destined primarily to the payment of advisers and strategic consultants.
During the meeting, it was informed that in February, the board will publish the contracts they have made related to external advisers, as well as the code of ethics to be followed by its members, their financial statements and the documents they submitted to be considered to be part of the organism.
“Nobody at this meeting has received royalties,” said José Ramón González, one of the members of the board, referring to the clause of Promesa that allows them to receive gifts.
On the board’s spending to date, González said: “This money has inevitably been spent because of the situation we are in … Due to the complexity of the lawsuits, it is better to be well advised.”
Meeting costs $ 9,000
On the other hand, the president of the fiscal control board reported that the third meeting they had – the first that took place on the island – cost $9,000 in terms of logistics and payments to the El Conquistador hotel. This doesn’t include what the Puerto Rico police invested in the deployment of hundreds of officers on the outskirts of the complex.
When asked about the expenses and if they considered that these were excessive at a time when the country is in a fiscal crisis, Carrión stated that “if we were to use an economic point of view, we would have meetings in New York because it is more cost effective.”