Aguadilla mayor accuses predecessor of illegally cutting municipal police salaries

By The Star Staff

The municipality of Aguadilla must find $700,000 to pay back wages owed to its police officers.

Aguadilla Mayor Julio Roldán accused former Mayor Carlos Méndez on Wednesday of illegally cutting municipal police salaries for three years.

Roldán, of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), made the allegation along with the PDP’s spokesman in the northwestern coastal town’s municipal assembly, Kenneth Sanabria Domenech.

The cuts to the salaries of Aguadilla municipal police officers were continued by Méndez’s successor, Yanitisia Irizarry, with whom Roldán had a bitter dispute over the mayoral seat.

Roldán said the former mayors deprived the police of about $317 per monthly salary.

“The administration of Carlos Méndez, and then of Yanitsia Irizarry, evidently lacked sound administration, when they arbitrarily reduced the salary of the municipal policemen,” Roldán said. “According to the pay scales of the municipality, the municipal policemen have a fixed salary of $1,980 per month, but in February of 2018, their salaries were reduced to $1,663. It is unacceptable that for so long they have cut the salary of these officers, who in addition to offering security, risk their lives to maintain order in our town.”

Sanabria said he became aware of the cuts when he investigated the ordinances approved in order to reduce the working day and the salary that had previously been increased by the New Progressive Party (NPP) administration of Méndez.

“This gross negligence committed by the NPP while governing Aguadilla causes the current administration to now have to look for $700,000 to pay the municipal police,” Sanabria said. “Undoubtedly these actions leave a lot to say about the decisions and administrative procedures carried out in past years and provide us with additional cause to inquire and investigate other matters of the municipality.”

Roldán said “[w]e will pay each and every one what they were deprived of.”

“In the same way, we will continue investigating and questioning dubious administrative transactions,” the mayor said. “We believe in government transparency and we will always do the right things with commitment and responsibility.”

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