Governor: PREPA’s state of emergency bound to be questioned
By John McPhaul
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Thursday that questions will always arise when states of emergency, such as the one that appears on track for approval by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) Governing Board, are declared.
“This point is always made and the important thing is that a lot of judgment be exercised in the use of public funds,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “Whatever it is, there are controls so that at least you have, then, several quotes to choose the best one and that there is total transparency. All those things have to happen. But they have to understand that when there is an emergency, there is an emergency. And when there is an emergency, you have to have expedited, rapid processes.”
The governor said the request made by PREPA Executive Director Josué Colón Ortiz to the governing board of the public corporation revolves around internal procurement and contracting matters that can be carried out quickly without the need to go through ordinary processes.
The governor had already authorized PREPA to bypass the ordinary mechanisms in the Office of Management and Budget (OGP by its Spanish initials) and the General Services Administration (ASG) for the purchasing and contracting process.
“The board is already exempt; it does not have to go through OGP or ASG,” Pierluisi said. “And that said, the director [of PREPA] has every right to express himself.”
During public hearings held Wednesday by the Natural Resources Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, Colón Ortiz announced that he would make the request for PREPA to declare a state of emergency.