Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Former Puerto Rico Education secretary sought $400,000 salary

By on April 8, 2019

Former Education Secretary Julia Keleher (Efrén Rodríguez/CB)

Matter was discussed at governor’s office but allegedly not supported

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico’s former secretary of Education, Julia Keleher, brought the Tenacre Foundation to invest in the island’s education, but the proposal was accompanied by a request for the entity to pay her salary, at a rate of $400,000 a year.

In an interview with CB en Español, Manuel Cidre, the former vice chairman of the Puerto Rico Education Foundation (PREF), said it was Keleher who brought the Tenacre Foundation to the island, and when it presented its proposal to donate $15 million over five years, a provision for the salary of the secretary to be paid from that fund was included.

“It seemed a good idea to me that the government would not have to pay an official’s salary and could use those funds for other things the schools need, but she, Keleher, asked that if the foundation was going to pay the salary, all the work she did, did not cost $250,000, it cost $400,000,” Cidre said.

“The PREF board did not accept that and the proposal was reformulated without the salary of the secretary,” he added.

According to a report by Metro, the question about the viability of a private entity paying the salary of the secretary of Education reached the governor’s office, La Fortaleza, but was not accepted either. Confronted with the report’s information, Keleher denied she had asked for the amount.

“At some point, I was contemplating, as an idea, how Puerto Rico could get out of this and not have to pay me anything, because there are examples where people lead systems but the state does not pay them or the system does not pay them, and at some point I thought about it, but it was only thinking about how,” Keleher told Metro at the time.

Cidre, who ran as an independent gubernatorial candidate in the last elections, said Tenacre Foundation’s proposal was discussed and processed with the endorsement of the Justice, Ethics and Treasury departments, as well as La Fortaleza.

While serving as Education secretary, Keleher also had a $250,000 contract with the Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (Aafaf by its Spanish acronym).

Keleher is reportedly being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for alleged irregularities in the awarding of contracts at the Department of Education.

Puerto Rico Senate approves Dr. Eligio Hernández Pérez as acting Education secretary

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