Ricardo Rosselló makes first cabinet nominations
Puerto Rican Governor-elect Ricardo Rosselló has made the first moves to staff his cabinet, early decisions that will define the direction of his administration. The Governor-elect faces many challenges– he must offer economic relief to the cash-strapped islands, and navigate the complicated relationship with politicians in Washington.
Roselló tapped William Villafañe as his Chief of Staff and Itza M. Garcia Rodriguez as Assistant Chief of Staff. The two will be responsible for saving the islands’ finances and implementing the Governor-elect’s “Plan for Puerto Rico”. Most urgently, Puerto Rico risks running out of cash in just 90 days.
The Governor-elect drew praise for his selection of Wanda Vazquez as Attorney General, and Michele Hernandez as Puerto Rico Police Superintendent. The appointment of Hernandez marks the first time a women has been selected to lead the police force, garnering approval from female NPP senators.
The incoming economic team will comprise Manuel Laboy Rivera as secretary for the Department of Economic Development and Commerce, María Gordillo Pérez as president of the Planning Board and María Palou Abasolo as legal adviser for development and infrastructure.
Rossello drew criticism, however, for his appointment of Elias Sanchez as his representative to the islands’ Fiscal Control Board. Sanchez, an attorney, has failed to pledge he would not explore new contracts while sitting on the board. In response, PDP senators vowed accountability, stating their intention to invoke the islands’ ethics laws.
Asked about corruption in the government, Chief of Staff Villafañe promises accountability. “I’m going to go into every government agency,” he said. “I’m going to look at each book, we’re going to scrutinize every contract.”