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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Ex-Land Authority director says she was unfairly dismissed

By The Star Staff

The dismissed executive director of the Land Authority, Dorally Rivera Martínez, said she was fired through a heavy-handed and unfair process and denied any wrongdoing.

“Needless to say, the dismissal of this public servant -- and I have no qualms about saying it -- was an extremely hasty and unfair one, much more so at this moment in life. I am going through the most difficult time of my life with a diagnosis of cancer, as is known by the [Agriculture] secretary,” Rivera Martínez said in a radio interview (Notiuno). “On countless occasions, the Secretary of Agriculture [Ramón González Beiró] told this public servant to ‘go home and face your condition or I’m going to take you to the Governing Board,’ and that is very difficult to work with and to accept.”

At the time of her firing in February, Rivera Martínez was criticized by lawmakers over her slowness in disbursing Municipal Capital Improvement Funds.

“He [González Beiró] believed that I had behaved badly in my performance at the Land Authority. And I can tell you that maybe there could have been an administrative deficiency, because we are not perfect. And much more so when we are dealing with a new program,” she said. “But an act of corruption? I can say from my heart that this public servant would never [engage in any such act].”

Rivera Martínez, an agronomist, has a career position at the Land Authority.

“I received a communication on February 17 that was totally out of bounds. I received a communication from the secretary’s special assistant at around 12 noon requesting my resignation before two in the afternoon,” she said. “Obviously, I was not going to resign, because I did not act incorrectly.”

She said she kept the Land Authority’s governing board, which is under the Agriculture secretary, informed of every step she made.

“To my surprise, at around four in the afternoon, I received a minutes [report] from a board of directors -- which is a non-existent body in the Land Authority because the Land Authority is governed by a governing board -- I receive the minutes of the board of directors that does not exist, saying that they determined to dismiss me and three components of my staff,” Rivera Martínez said. “I thought it was a joke. When I saw that communication, I thought they were kidding me.”

“I receive the dismissal letter from the undersecretary, I tell him that the body that can dismiss me is the governing board of the Land Authority. He tells me to open the envelope and I find a decision dated February 10, seven days before [the request for resignation and dismissal], in which the governing board determined to remove this public servant and three other components [of my work team] who are not involved with the Municipal Improvement Fund,” Rivera Martínez said. “I later found out that apparently, and I’m assuming this, he raised a case of workplace harassment that he incorrectly took an employee to the Department of Agriculture. I believe that he took advantage of the opportunity and fired me.”

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