Governor of Puerto Rico makes New Government bill into law
(December 18, 2017 - La Fortaleza, San Juan) Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rosselló signed the bill to create the New Government of Puerto Rico Act, which seeks to establish more efficient government structures and achieve significant savings.
The project—which becomes Act 122 of 2017—establishes a uniform and agile process for the reorganization of the new government. This includes consolidations, outsourcing, and reorganizations of government agencies and corporations, as well as their programs.
"With the purpose of making a more agile government, improving services to citizens, protecting our public employees, and being fiscally responsible, today I sign this bill into law. As we established in the Plan for Puerto Rico, with this measure we give way to the development of a new, more efficient government," said the governor.
The chief executive explained that this measure also seeks the reduction of 118 agencies to 35 more efficient ones, to comply with the provisions of the Plan for Puerto Rico, the Fiscal Plan, and thus achieve cost reduction to meet the inherited deficit of $ 7.6 billion.
According to the law, among the agencies that cannot be considered for consolidation are the nine constitutional agencies: State, Justice, Treasury, Education, Labor, Transportation and Public Works, Economic Development and Commerce, Health, and Agriculture.
Additionally, for the purpose of continuing the transparency and effectiveness of the Government, the statute will not apply to: The Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor, the Office of Government Ethics, the State Elections Commission, the Office of the Comptroller, the Office of the Electoral Comptroller, and the University of Puerto Rico.
The law will neither apply to public corporations that have an approved fiscal plan, such as: The Electric Power Authority, the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, and the Highways and Transportation Authority, among others.
The statute requires that the submitted plans comply with the principles of efficiency and savings; that they do not entail the dismissal of public employees; nor that they lead to the loss of federal funds.
Likewise, it is detailed that once the reorganization plan has been submitted by the Executive, the Legislative Assembly will see it to confirm or reject it.
Together with the filing of the Plan or 15 days after its approval, the governor will present a bill to repeal those laws affected by it and to establish the new public policy of the agency.
An example of the advantages of agency consolidation is the Department of Public Safety (DSP, for its Spanish acronym), which consolidated seven public agencies and achieved savings of $28 million in its first year without dismissing public employees.