Union leader denounces former GDB president’s severance package
By Gabriel Orlando Santos Ortega
SAN JUAN – Annette González, the president of the Puerto Rico United Public Servants (SPU by its Spanish initials), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ Council 95, said Tuesday that the severance pay the Government Development Bank (GDB) gave its former president and chairwoman, Melba Acosta, is disrespectful to the people and public employees.
“We are in times of crisis, and with that excuse there are thousands of public employees today who haven’t been paid their severance in years…. But since it’s Melba Acosta and not María la del Barrio [an ordinary citizen], they can pay her $86,056…. This is a mockery and an offense to the thousands of mothers and fathers who day by day go out to provide excellent public service, and [the government] doesn’t even want to pay their food and car allowances,” González said in a written statement.
On Monday, Alfonso Orona, member of Governor-elect Ricardo Rosselló’s government transition team, criticized Acosta’s salary and severance. During the transition hearing, it was revealed that the former public official was given $86,000 after she resigned from the GDB on July 31.
The union leader claimed that with the Fiscal Sustainability Act (Act 66), public workers had their Christmas bonus, which is part of their salary, decreased, along with the elimination of payment for unused sick leave.
“We are aware that agency directors aren’t covered by many aspects of this law, but that is a discriminatory act. We must all adhere to the same austerity parameters in times of crisis,” González said. “It’s time to end political favoritism. Today we are seeing that austerity is for the people of Puerto Rico and not the friends and contributors to political campaigns,” she added.
The SPU represents 13,000 public employees in 10 government agencies.