The government of Puerto Rico needs to complete a team of leaders whose profile of ethics, experience and background allows them to undertake, with a commitment to public service, initiatives that promote the island´s reconstruction and socio-economic development.
Thus, evaluating high-caliber professionals who can be appointed and confirmed to positions in the cabinet, as well as in agencies related to Puerto Rico´s fiscal and economic issues should be a priority for the government.
After a long period of instability, marked by resignations in key agencies and the governor stepping down, it is urgent to integrate skilled professionals who assume the role of public servants as leaders in this historic moment.
Governor Wanda Vázquez should evaluate resources that respond to a model that allows the cabinet to integrate people with experience the areas they are called and who can become an inspiration for the rest of the officials.
The appointment of the government representative before the Oversight Board, after Christian Sobrino, who also held the positions of executive director of the Financial Advisory Authority and Fiscal Agency and the government chief financial officer, resigned is still pending.
Meanwhile, the Legislature still has to confirm the appointments to the Department of Justice and the Office of Government Ethics. The heads of the Department of Consumer Affairs, the General Services Administration, as well as the positions of Chief of Staff and the Public Affairs secretary are still vacant.
It is also important that in the short term newly appointed officials in agencies such as the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration in Washington can move forward coordinated efforts with Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González.
Appointments to the cabinet and other Executive branch agencies will allow the government to regain credibility with Puerto Ricans and the U.S. government, whose collaboration is essential to the island's reconstruction. It will also bring the stability required to attract investment.
Properly completing a government team should contribute to better inter-agency coordination, as well as to provide adequate services to the people.
In order to strengthen the government, the Executive branch should consider as key qualities well-prepared professionals with extensive expertise in the areas they are appointed to. These professionals must prove they have a clear mission of public service and integrity. It is essential that they do not give way to corruption.
In this process of adjustment, the fact that the governor ruled out the possibility of cabinet officials heading more than one agency, sometimes with unconnected missions and approaches seems a wise decision. This points to maximize their capacities and promote better public service.
We expect the Legislative branch will promptly complete a fair evaluation process of those appointments that required their confirmation so they can properly assume their positions in the government.
We trust the evaluation process will take place on a suitable time horizon, in order to strengthen the team that implements the government´s agenda which should respond to the interests of Puerto Rico, with effective coordination between the other government branches, the Oversight Board and the federal government.
As Puerto Ricans are closely watching their government, it becomes imperative to have a team able to harmoniously resolve differences and to advance crucial projects for the sustainability of the island.