Puerto Rico governor meets with fiscal board in Texas to discuss debt mediation
SAN JUAN – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló traveled over the weekend to Dallas with his representative to Puerto Rico’s fiscal control board, Christian Sobrino, and met with its members to discuss how the mediation process with creditors was proceeding.
The meeting took place while the governor and the board clash over its request that a furlough program be implemented. While the board asked the government to cut two days a month for executive branch employees, as of Sept. 1, the governor has said he will not because of the economic impact it would have.
The board is evaluating its the legal alternatives to enforce the furlough, which it claims is part of the fiscal plan certified in March. However, the government insists the workday cuts are nothing more than a recommendation and thus can decide not to follow it and simply send a letter to the board, President Trump and the U.S. Congress explaining its refusal, based on Article 205 of the Promesa law.
Last week, Rosselló confirmed he was in talks with the board to look for alternatives to the furlough program and assured there was no discussion about its implementation.
The governor’s trip comes two weeks after U.S. District Judge Barbara Houser announced that the parties will begin meetings in early September on the most controversial disputes related to Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy process under Title III of Promesa.
Judge Houser, the chief of the U.S. bankruptcy court for Texas’ northern district, heads a team of five judges in charge of the mediation process between the Government of Puerto Rico and its creditors.
The team is made up by Judge Thomas Ambro, of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals; Nancy Atlas of the Southern District of Texas Federal Court; Christopher Klein, a U.S. bankruptcy judge in the Eastern District of California; and Judge Víctor Ramos, from the federal court for the Southern District of New York.
Judge Houser has been emphatic about the confidential nature of the proceedings and has requested the parties be patient and trust the mediation team.