Rosselló’s cabinet loses two of its main players

by | May 2, 2019 | Puerto Rico | Comments

While Governor Rosselló has been defending his cabinet and officials from the United States federal government, he has also been having to clean up his own house a little bit following two major changes in his cabinet. Two of the heavy hitters serving as the secretaries in the Department of Education and Department of Public Safety have tendered their resignations to Rosselló. Julia Kehelerand Hector Pesquera have stepped down from their respective positions and we are starting to see the effects brought about by this change.

Julia Keleher who was a transplant administrator that the Governor had brought over from the states was reported to have stepped down on April 9, 2019. Her appointment as the Secretary of Education for Puerto Rico was one that saw massive changes within the islands’ school system and how they operated. Not only was the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes a huge turning point for the schools but the policies that followed are sure to shape the education of Puerto Rican children for years, and Keleher was the face and forefront of the changes. She drew the ire of the teachers union in Puerto Rico for school closures and voucher programs, though she also won some praise for her work on professional development for teachers and better resources for the schools.

While originally Keleher was going to stay on as an advisor it was reported later that her contributions in an advisory role were not going ahead as was originally reported. An uncorroborated report was sent La Fortelza regarding the potential misuse of federal funds and the “strong statements about the interest that the secretary had about the use of funds for ineligible activities.” While currently there have not been findings or corroboration either way Julia Keleher will no longer be a part of the cabinet or Department of Education in Puerto Rico. It was announced that her position will now be filled by Eleuterio Alamo.

Governor Rosselló is also facing the resignation of the head of the newly created Department of Public Safety, Hector Pesquera, to the cheers of the police union. While many are disappointed at the way that Pesquera handled public safety concerns following the hurricanes, a statement released said that he was resigning to “handle family matters.” Pesquera, despite all the controversy and criticism faced, stressed in his contract negotiations that his tenure would be for a two year period, and this resignation, though called for earlier, is not surprising to many.