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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Lawmaker calls on AAFAF chief, governor to defend police pension hikes

Rep. José Rivera Madera

By The Star Staff

Rep. José Rivera Madera on Thursday urged Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF) Executive Director Omar Marrero Díaz and Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia to defend the hike in police pensions so it does not follow the fate of labor reform.

He urged them to submit for the pension plan the corresponding report on the origin of the funds for its implementation and its impact on the fiscal plan, as required by U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain with the labor reform bill.

The legislator reminded Marrero that a tax was imposed on slot machines to fund the pension increase for retired police officers.

“We cannot allow the inaction of the central government to throw away this opportunity to give police retirees a better quality of life,” Rivera Madera emphasized, blaming “the lack of diligence of the AAFAF executive director … supported by the neglect of his boss, the governor.” “We cannot be signing laws and then letting them die.”

In recent days, Swain, who is overseeing Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy cases in federal Title III court, nullified the Labor Reform Law, which reinstated the rights of employees eliminated by Act 4 of 2017 (Labor Transformation and Flexibility Law), after the Financial Oversight and Management Board expressed opposition to its implementation. Some sectors that defended the measure have argued that the “poor” defense of the measure from the government, led by Marrero, paved the way for Swain’s decision.

For that reason, Rivera Madera raised a flag out of concern the same thing could happen with the police pension measure, for which he warned that the money to comply with the law has been identified.

“We worked on a measure, we took it to the conference committee; we sought the votes, we got the governor to sign it and I don’t want to think that after so much effort, it is not defended firmly by the central government, thus preventing police officers from receiving fair compensation upon retirement,” Rivera Madera said.

Law 104-22 of the Police Retirement Fund allows the collection of part of the proceeds from the “route gambling machines,” or slot machines, that operate throughout the island, to strengthen the revenue stream for the retirement system of law enforcement personnel.

Meanwhile, a new bill filed by Rivera Madera, House Bill 1593, which will be discussed next week, would determine that the guaranteed pension be 50% of the salary earned by police officers.

“After 25, 30 or 35 years of service, the least that the government owes to these public servants who give their years of youth and adulthood to the people, is to defend this law in the most energetic way,” Rivera Madera said.

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