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Rosselló Announces Important Appointments To His Administration

By on December 28, 2016

BAYAMÓN—Governor-elect Ricardo Rosselló made six new appointments to his administration today, including the heads of the Labor Department and the Department of Education.

rossello-nombramientosIn the facilities of the Engine-4 work space in Bayamón and before a large crowd, Rosselló appointed Dr. Julia Keleher to become secretary of Education and attorney Carlos Saavedra Gutiérrez to Labor Secretary. Only a handful of positions are left to appoint in the upcoming Cabinet, among them the head of the Correction and Rehabilitation Department.

Attorney Sandra Torres López, meanwhile, returns as president of the Telecommunications Regulatory Board, a position she occupied during the Luis Fortuño administration. Rosselló also named Luis Arocho González as head of computer science, or CIO, of the government and Jesús Rodríguez Rosa as the new administrator of the State Insurance Fund Corporation. Meanwhile, municipal ex-judge Nidza Irizarry Algarín will be the new executive director of the Office of Training and Advice in Labor Matters and Administration of Human Resources (OCALARH).

Keleher—who has been working with the local Department of Education for 10 years both in the public and private sectors—said her objectives were to improve academic achievement, optimize the use of resources and also respond to the recommendations made by the Fiscal Oversight Board.

“I know the challenges the [Department of Education] faces,” said the University of Pennsylvania graduate in Spanish, while emphasizing the desire to provide equal opportunity for all students in a community-responsive public education system.

Currently, Keleher works at her private consulting firm in Washington, D.C. Before, she worked for the federal government as a kind of “monitor” of the local Department of Education in Puerto Rico. When asked about a contract with the local government, Keleher said it would be canceled before her new role begins.

Keleher also said she will seek to measure the results of contracts awarded by the department and analyze the data to see how they can meet the common needs that may arise.

Asked about the delay of payments to education service providers, Rosselló answered that “the policy of not paying the suppliers was of this government” and that his administration “is the answer to that problem”.

On the other hand, he said that more is spent on students in Puerto Rico than their counterparts in other federal jurisdictions, while both the number of students and their performance have decreased. According to the governor-elect, this presents a problem of management of the system and resources, including federal funds.

For his part, Saavedra promised to defend the rights of workers in Puerto Rico and emphasized that the Department of Labor should insert itself fully in the economic development of the island. However, he avoided commenting on the labor reform that has been recommended by the fiscal board and said he would wait for the transition report before publicly discussing the issue.

Rosselló took the opportunity to review his proposal of the single employer model and assured again that “does not affect the unionization law” in Puerto Rico. He added that the mechanism would guarantee employment while seeking to place the public employee in a better position to serve the people. On the subject, Irizarry talked about how OCALARH will seek to assist in the mobility of human resource within the government apparatus under the single employer model.

In the case of the State Insurance Fund, the governor-elect acknowledged the fiscal and operational challenges facing the corporation. Rodríguez —who previously held a number of public positions in the Roads Authority (ACT) and the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP)— promised to improve the efficiency of services and provide insured parties with certainty that they will receive the service they need .

Meanwhile, both Torres and Arocho talked about the importance of promoting the use of technology in Puerto Rico. The new president of the JRT said to aim to deploy “broadband in every corner of Puerto Rico” since “technology is for everyone.”

Among those present at the press conference were ex-governor Pedro Rosselló; the mayor of Bayamón, Ramón Luis Rivera Jr.; former San Juan mayor Jorge Santini; the former president of Senate, Charlie Rodriguez, and several legislators of the New Progressive Party.

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