Governor appoints Ramos Parés as education chief
By John McPhaul
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia announced on Wednesday the appointment of Eliezer Ramos Parés as secretary of the Department of Education.
The governor also made renominations in appointments that were not taken up by the island Senate and House of Representatives.
“Ramos Parés has fully complied with the task I gave him to direct the Department on an interim basis” Pierluisi said in a written statement. “He duly supervised the summer educational [programs], he saw to it that we had a school restart without major setbacks despite the pandemic and currently the vast majority of students in our public schools are receiving education in person.”
The governor added that Ramos Parés has established an excellent working relationship with federal authorities, has duly followed up on the repair and construction of schools and is determined to address the setbacks that the student body has suffered as a result of the pandemic.
“For these and other reasons, I hope that he will obtain confirmation from the Senate to exercise his position in full,” Pierluisi said.
The governor responded sharply on Wednesday to rumors that the confirmation of Ramos Parés in the Senate is conditional on removing Héctor Joaquín Sánchez Álvarez from the post of assistant secretary.
“Appointments must be evaluated on the merits of individuals. Not on other considerations,” Pierluisi replied to questions from the press. “The post of assistant secretary is a position that is not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. So there they absolutely have to keep their hands off. He [Sánchez Álvarez] has a position and he enjoys the confidence of the current secretary and he enjoys the confidence of this public servant. And no one should be claiming then that one has to remove a person to name another. How long has he been here? Order in the house.”
The governor said he hopes the situation that occurred with Larry Seilhamer, whose appointment as secretary of state was suspended by the House of Representatives, will not occur with Ramos Parés.