Rosselló and González question fiscal board exec. director’s salary
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló scrutinized the $2.5 million, four-year contract for the Fiscal Oversight Board’s new executive director, Natalie Jaresko. (Courtesy from La Fortaleza)
SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González on Monday separately questioned why the Fiscal Oversight & Management Board (FOMB) agreed to pay $2.5 million for the next four years to its new executive director, Natalie Jaresko.
“The salary is something that catches one’s attention. To my understanding, the salary, considering Puerto Rico’s [economic] situation, is excessive. The board’s members must answer why they agreed upon that salary. After all, although it is their choice, although it is their will, although they assigned funds to the people of Puerto Rico to spend or invest in different recruitments, the truth is that those funds still belong to the people of Puerto Rico and it is important that they always keep that in their conscience, because they will eventually be evaluated,” Rosselló replied to questions from the press during a conference.
“This is a warning that if they invest $625,000 [annually], there better be a reason,” he added.
The governor assured he will participate next Friday in the fiscal entity’s sixth public hearing, which will take place at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan. He said he will present his proposals for economic development, the main topic of the event.
As for the resident commissioner, she said the salary is “ridiculous and disrespectful.”
“It seems like a copy-paste from [former Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority Chief Restructuring Officer] Lisa Donahue’s [contract], and I think that’s enough. If the federal government were to pay for it, then by all means bring a Nobel laureate in economy to oversee the board. But if the people of Puerto Rico will pay for it, how is it possible that here they protest $50,000 contracts, if now the board is paying one for $625,000, without including miscellaneous expenses?” González questioned in a written statement.
“What will [Jaresko] tell us, that we need to reduce expenses, that we need to sit down to negotiate with creditors? Everybody has said that already. That shocked me. I initially applauded when I saw that it was a person with that level [of experience], but when they told me how much she would earn, then that bothers me,” she added.
Last Thursday, board Chairman José Carrión III revealed that Jaresko’s salary, as the entity’s executive director, totaled $2.5 million over four years, or $625,000 annually.
Jaresko will settle into Puerto Rico next summer because she is currently expecting her daughter to finish her school semester.
The board’s new executive director was Ukraine’s finance minister from 2014 to 2016. Born in Chicago, Jaresko assumed the ministry role during one of Ukraine’s most critical moments, when the post-revolutionary state experienced foreign occupation and an economic recession. Throughout her leadership, she lead the negotiation and implementation of the greatest program for the International Monetary Fund in that institution’s history, as well as a complex restructuring of the sovereign debt and the guaranteed sovereign debt.