Puerto Rico gov’t will have to report on worker attendance to fiscal board
SAN JUAN – Judging by the preliminary information the Government of Puerto Rico has received so far, 15% to 25% of public agency workers have not reported to work after Hurricane María.
This was revealed Tuesday by the director of the Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (Aafaf by its Spanish acronym), Gerardo Portela, and the government’s representative to the island’s fiscal control board, Christian Sobrino, during the panel’s 11th public meeting in New York.
In response to questions from Carlos García, a fiscal board member and former president of the Government Development Bank (GDB), officials in Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s administration indicated that although they do not yet have the final number of public employees who have returned to their workplace, initial reports suggest a 75% to 85% range of active workers to date. That is the estimate after receiving information from nearly 60% of the agencies.
“This leaves out the Department of Education. In that sample, you have a lower level, of around 60%, mostly in November, based on the number of schools that remained closed or employees using their leave days,” Sobrino explained.
García proceeded to suggest to the rest of the board that the government be required to present a weekly report detailing the attendance of public employees, to which Sobrino agreed.
Therefore, in addition to the liquidity and budget reports, the administration will have to submit information each week on the number of public employees who have reported to their positions throughout the government. This report would be public, the board said.
Sobrino added that, the governor’s office, La Fortaleza, had already ordered administrative proceedings against public employees who have “abandoned their job.” For his part, Portela said that as of October, there were about 140,000 public employees working in government, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
In his statements, the Aafaf director said La Fortaleza circulated a memo on Nov. 15 to all agencies and public entities so they would detail the weekly attendance of their employees after María. A month earlier, on Oct. 16, Chief of Staff William Villafañe issued an order so that any day not worked by an employee after Oct. 2 would be charged to their remaining vacation or sick-leave days.