January 22, 2021

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Contractor criticizes emergency management of the earthquake in the Municipality of Ponce in view of transition

The lawyer Aurealis Lozada Centeno, criticized on Wednesday, the work of the directors of Human Resources and Finance of the City Council

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Ponce – After making a recount of the documents delivered and the steps taken by its firm, ALC Legal Services Group PSC, for the Autonomous Municipality of Ponce before the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after Hurricane María and the earthquakes, and highlighting what in his opinion was an extraordinary work, the lawyer Aurealis Lozada Centeno, criticized on Wednesday, the work of the directors of Human Resources and Finance of the City Council.

On the third day of hearings of the transition process, the lawyer, who is a contractor for the Office of Reconstruction of the Municipality, told questions from Francisco Cervoni Hernández, of the Incoming Transition Committee, that “I do not know the scope of his statement ( from the Director of Human Resources, Rodney Crespo) ”during yesterday’s hearing.

And he established in written communication that “what I am saying is that, as Human Resources director, if I compare how I worked (the hurricane emergency) María, with dedicated staff (from the Municipality), with staff who were all the time validating data (sic ), to the earthquake, there is an abysmal difference. This could have been resolved because it was a much lower incidence than Maria. There is no quantification in comparison of Maria’s damage to earthquake damage. Before I went into hiring in May, everything done previously had to be removed from FEMA was not done to FEMA standards. “

The lawyer, who was deputy mayor of Guaynabo in the Héctor O’Neill Administration and whose consulting firm has earned more than 2 million dollars for the emergencies that occurred in Ponce, indicated that “the national template is the document (which use) and if that document does not fit you cannot submit it. What they did was an email to FEMA and they reported it there. When you’re working payroll you have to validate hours, team; that’s a bit complex. It has its complexity. I want to make it clear how far my responsibility goes. What he told us was that the information, who can provide it is the Director of Human Resources. That had to be withdrawn ”, argued the lawyer.

In addition, he questioned payments made by the Finance Department to two employees. FEMA establishes guidelines on who and what jobs qualify to receive payroll from emergency funds.

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