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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Senate evaluates ASUME administrator nomination

Nicole Martínez Martínez

By John McPhaul

The Senate Appointments Committee, led by Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago, evaluated on Tuesday the appointment of Nicole Martínez Martínez to head the Administration for the Support of Minors (ASUME by its Spanish acronym), who recognized the lack of personnel in all areas of the agency for attending to cases.

“We are evaluating the applications submitted for subsequent hiring, which would reduce the workload and achieve greater effectiveness, agility and efficiency in the handling of cases,” Martínez said. “In addition, we are evaluating the human resources needs of each of the auxiliary administrations in order to request approval for hiring personnel for these areas, as well as any additional personnel necessary to carry out an effective operation.”

As part of her professional career, the appointee began working at the González Milán Law Firm in 2009. From 2014 to 2021 she worked as legal adviser in the then Office of Youth Affairs, and then as an attorney in the Municipality of Guaynabo. Subsequently in 2021 Martínez started as a legal adviser at ASUME.

On the subject of current child support payment guidelines, which date back to 2014, Martínez noted that a company was hired last year and they are refining the surveys and the parenting study, to have a draft of the report as soon as December.

Sen. Marially González Huertas asked what parameters are being considered for the revision of the guidelines. The deponent pointed to a socioeconomic study that includes the cost of parenting in order to determine child support payment levels.

In turn, Arecibo District Sen. Rubén Soto Rivera asked the nominee how many cases a specialist can have for proper management. Martínez said a particular number could be 500 cases, but she could not determine a specific number. Soto Rivera also asked how many specialists are needed for 500 cases, to which she replied about 350.

In response to questions from independent Sen. José Vargas Vidot, the appointee said ASUME has conducted a project through consortiums to refer participants who did not have a job and could not pay the alimony. She added that since her arrival she has formed collaborative partnerships with nonprofit organizations to send participants for training, work, financial counseling and housing.

“We are aimed at offering a service beyond simply imposing alimony, collecting and distribution,” Martínez said.

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