Gov presents Puerto Rico Justice, Agriculture reorganization plans
SAN JUAN — Gov. Ricardo Rosselló presented two new plans to reorganize the Justice and Agriculture departments under the New Government Act, which seeks to reduce the number of agencies from 118 to 35 without laying off public employees.
According to the administration, if approved by the Legislature, the reorganizations would save more than $48 million the first year and over $318 million in the next five years.
In a statement, Public Affairs Secretary Ramón Rosario explained that the Justice Department will be merged with the Corrections & Rehabilitation Department (CRD), the Correctional Health Program and the Freedom Under Oath Board to create the Corrections & Rehabilitation Bureau.
The bureau would be directed by a commissioner appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. Meanwhile, the Freedom Under Oath Board would maintain its independence and operational structure, the statement reads. In addition, Corrections employees would keep their right to reach collective bargaining agreements under the new bureau.
Meanwhile, the Administration for the Development of Agricultural Businesses and the Puerto Rico Agriculture Insurance Corp. would be merged into the Agriculture Department. In addition, the Coffee Office of Puerto Rico would be created and be tasked with setting bean prices, a function that is currently carried out by the Consumer Affairs Department (DACO by its Spanish acronym). The Agriculture Department would also set sugar prices instead of the DACO.
“All the reorganization plans presented guarantee the jobs and acquired rights of public employees and safeguard federal funds. With this unprecedented reorganization of the government we intend to have a more efficient and less expensive government apparatus to redirect the scarce resources of Treasury to incentivize the economy with measures such as the new tax model that will reduce taxes to all sectors,” Rosario added.
To date, the executive branch has introduced seven reorganization plans, of which the Labor &and Human Resources Department and the Natural Reserve were approved in the House and Senate. The other five plans are under evaluation in the Legislature.
To date, the executive branch has submitted seven reorganization plans, of which the Labor Department and the Model Forest were passed in both the Senate and House of Representatives. The other five plans are under legislative consideration.