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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Fiscal board bars gov’t from implementing salary hikes for cafeteria workers



The Financial Oversight and Management Board said that while it acknowledged the critically important role performed by school cafeteria employees and recognizes the necessity of revising their current base salaries, the way the new base salaries were set is inconsistent with the Civil Service Reform in the Certified Fiscal Plan.

By The Star Staff


The Financial Oversight and Management Board has informed the island government that it can not implement Act 41-2024, which increases the base salary of school cafeteria employees in the School Dining Division of the Puerto Rico Department of Education (DE) to $12 per hour.


In a letter last week to Omar J. Marrero Díaz, executive director of the Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority, the oversight board said that while it acknowledged the critically important role performed by school cafeteria employees and recognizes the necessity of revising their current base salaries, the way the new base salaries were set is inconsistent with the Civil Service Reform (CSR) in the Certified Fiscal Plan.


The CSR covers the DE at the government’s request.


“The Oversight Board understands that compensation matters should be managed centrally and in compliance with the CSR, which contains a robust, market-based, data-driven methodology to establish base salaries,” the board said in its letter. “Such methodology follows best practices and ensures competitive and fiscally responsible salaries across the entire government.”


The DE’s Classification and Remuneration Plan is being revised consistently with CSR methodology, the oversight board noted.


“Accordingly, any adjustments to the base salaries of personnel working in the School Dining Division of the PRDE should be considered as part of the revisions to its Classification and Remuneration Plan,” the board said.


Ensuring that salary adjustments are conducted in alignment with CSR methodology and within the context of the revision of the DE’s Classification and Remuneration Plan will result in competitive, equitable and fiscally responsible salaries based on market data for school cafeteria employees in the DE’s School Dining Division as well as for all other DE employees, the board added.


“The Oversight Board has already committed funding for updating employee salaries and policies in the Central Government through the CSR, including at PRDE, as part of an effort to transform human capital capabilities in thePuerto Rico government,” the oversight board said.

Additionally, the board said Act 41 is inconsistent with the fiscal plan because it costs some $21 million per fiscal year, according to the government’s own analysis.


“The government fails to provide a method to pay for the new incremental expenditures,” the oversight board said. “Legislation that has a negative fiscal impact without corresponding savings or offsetting measures is inconsistent with the Fiscal Plan.”


Act 41 was also enacted in violation of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act, commonly known as PROMESA, because a reprogramming would likely be necessary to account for its additional cost, the board said.


Moreover, the estimate prepared by Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia must provide details regarding how the $21 million per year cost was estimated, a requirement that was not satisfied by the inclusion of a single budget impact chart, which provides no data sources or explanation.

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