Civil groups urge retirees to vote for their candidates to Pension Benefits Council
By The Star Staff
Two civil groups presented five candidates Sunday to the nine-member Pension Benefits Council, which is charged with monitoring compliance with the law concerning deposits and withdrawals from the Pension Reserve Fund established as part of the commonwealth debt adjustment plan.
The Front for the Defense of Pensions and Construyamos Otro Acuerdo (Let’s Build Another Plan) presented the five members, one of which is an active public worker, and the rest are government retirees. The council, which will have nine members, will monitor the board managing the Pension Reserve Fund, which was created to ensure that the government pays pensions in the future regardless of who is in political power.
“The government made bad investment decisions with our retirement fund. They wanted to cut our pensions,” Pedro Pastrana, a spokesman for the groups, told the STAR. “We supported the Dignified Retirement Law and managed to stop cuts to our pensions in the debt adjustment plan. Now, our goal is to avoid a second bankruptcy. We will ensure it does not happen again and do it from the inside.”
Pastrana said Ana Serrano and Armando Montero, both retired teachers, are the candidates representing the Teachers Retirement System.
Representing retirees from the central government are Sonia Palacio Miranda and Ramón Santiago Hernández, who are retired public workers.
The groups also are pushing the candidacy of Carlos Román Espada to represent active workers. Román Espada works at the Public Service Commission.
According to the law, government retirees elect six of the nine members of the council. The groups did not submit the name of a sixth candidate, who will represent the judicial retirement system because, Pastrana said, that person has already been appointed. The governor and the Financial Oversight and Management Board select the two other council members.
The candidates presented by the groups on Sunday have already been certified by Kroll, the company hired to monitor the votes. Retirees will be receiving ballots between August and September, and they must then be able to vote for the candidates, Pastrana said.