Pierluisi: Gov’t will not lay off Education Dept. employees

By John McPhaul

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Thursday that he will not lay off employees of the Department of Education, despite recommendations by the federal Financial Oversight and Management Board to reduce the staff of public employees in that agency.

“No. If for any reason we have an excess of employees in the Department of Education, what we will do is transfer them to other government agencies,” the governor said in reply to questions from the press. “For that we have the Single Employer law. That is why I insist that the government’s classification and remuneration plan must be reviewed in order to have uniform pay scales that will facilitate these transfers.”

“The public policy of this administration is zero layoffs,” he added.

“In other words, what we are going to do is use public personnel where they are needed,” Pierluisi said. “If it is true that it turns out that there is a surplus in [the] Education [Dept.], I am sure that we will find a workplace for those public servants in other areas of the government.”

The oversight board created under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act, commonly known as PROMESA, recommended to the government that the Department of Education should cut back on staff. In May 2017, then-Education secretary Julia Keleher declared a surplus of 2,635 public employees in the mammoth agency.

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