April 22, 2021

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Jaresko rejects positions of the UPR president on the fiscal plan

The executive director of the Fiscal Oversight Board (JSF), Natalie Jaresko, thundered against the president of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Jorge Haddock Acevedo for having criticized the Certified Fiscal Plan by the body he directs.

In a letter sent to the president of the UPR Governing Board, Walter Alomar Jiménez, Jaresko made reference to a press release that issued yesterday by the university administration in which Haddock Acevedo opposed several of the measures that the JSF recommended for the academic institution.

“Unfortunately, it seems that the president of the UPR did not review the Fiscal Plan of UPR 2020 before after issuing his wrong press release, he was misinformed by his team, or both, "said Jaresko.

Haddock Acevedo, by means of written statements, yesterday rejected the possibility that the educational institution would accept a process of ree debt structuring under Title III of the federal Promesa law, after the JSF revealed that this option was on the table in the face of the financial challenges of the university system. Likewise, he made clear his opposition to various administrative measures recommended by the fiscal entity, such as the elimination of the Christmas voucher.

“The Fiscal Plan carried out and certified by the JSF does not reflect the reality of the UPR, nor the work we have done in the past two years. It shows the lack of knowledge of the operation and governance of a university like the UPR "Haddock Acevedo highlighted yesterday.

Jaresko made a breakdown of the five statements made by the president of the UPR with which he did not agree.

Firstly, the executive director of the JSF pointed out that although she acknowledges that the UPR has no problems paying its debt tied to bonds, it has not been able to adequately finance its Retirement System. "We are only clarifying that the income does not allow the full payment of the debt service for bonds and the actuarial obligations required for their pensions," said Jaresko.

Likewise, Jaresko rejected that resorting to Title III puts at risk UPR accreditation should not threaten eligibility for federal funds. "Title III of Promise is not equivalent to Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Law" he maintained.

The executive director of the JSF, furthermore, explained to the UPR that it did not order the reduction of 10,300 jobs , but that is the final figure to be reached by 2025.

Similarly, Jaresko stressed that the university system has only disbursed $ 4.8 million of the nearly $ 118 million that have been committed in recovery funds assigned after Hurricane Maria. The executive director pointed out that Haddock Acevedo mistakenly mentioned in his statements the funds allocated by the Cares law to address the coronavirus pandemic.

The executive director of the Fiscal Board agreed with the president of the UPR after this He pointed out that "there is a social and human responsibility that must also be considered" when making decisions, indicating that this means that the Retirement System is adequately financed.

"Again we request leadership, accountability and transparency with the community and with Puerto Rico so that we can all work together towards a common goal. The sustainability of the University as an engine of economic development is threatened by inaction, "said Jaresko.

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