Blog

Solar Energy Making a Difference at PRASA Guaynabo Plant

The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico is fully committed to supporting the Puerto Rico Government, agencies, and public corporations as they continue to transition to renewable energy. One important example of this broad government initiative is the on-site solar energy project of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority’s (PRASA) Los Filtros water treatment plant in Guaynabo, which members of the Oversight Board’s infrastructure team visited recently.   The solar energy project is a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Windmar Energy dating back to 2013, and has a total capacity of 500 kilowatt alternating current (kW AC). The system began operations in October 2013, and as part of the project, 2,688 photovoltaic panels were installed on the roof of the water distribution tank at Los Filtros. Felix Mena, PRASA’s Energy Director, said the project paid off. Solar energy now supplies 79% of the energy needs at Los

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Working Group on Transportation Sector Reform Established

Transportation sector reform is a key element of improving Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, and the Certified Fiscal Plan for the Highways and Transportation Authority (HTA) defines the steps to reform the transportation system. To ensure the successful implementation, the Oversight Board, the Government, and HTA established a working group to establish an implementation plan. The principal objective of the transportation sector reform is to assign direct responsibility to toll, non-toll, and transit entities to enhance the overall performance of Puerto Rico’s transportation network. The working group’s implementation plan will guide the transfer of all HTA’s transit assets to Puerto Rico Integrated Transit Authority (PRITA) and the segregation of toll and non-toll operations, including separate management for those operations. Why is this important? A well-maintained transportation system would increase access to jobs and business opportunities, unlocking the productive potential of residents and businesses. Most of all, it will improve the quality of

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Importance of Dredging Carraízo Reservoir

Years of accumulated sediment have decreased the Carraízo Reservoir’s capacity by two million cubic meters. Now the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) is starting a project to remove sediment and improve the reliability of water services for almost half a million families and businesses. The Financial Oversight and Management Board recently approved the contract to dredge and make the much-needed repairs. The $93 million investment is expected to increase the reservoir’s capacity by approximately 528 million gallons of water. This is equivalent to adding about five to 10 days of supply of water to customers. The project was awarded to Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., based in Houston, TX, a company that already completed several projects in Puerto Rico since the 1960s. It will be financed with federal funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program (CDBG-DR).  This is

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PRIDCO As A Booster For Economic Development

Enhancing the industrial development of Puerto Rico is an important step towards the island’s path to economic growth and stability. In that process, the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO) is key to provide a first-class portfolio of industrial properties to make the island more competitive and attract greater investments. PRIDCO owns a large inventory of industrial properties, serving a variety of industries mostly manufacturing with 1,520 units and 766 undeveloped lots throughout Puerto Rico, but decades of underinvestment have affected its capacity to maintain the portfolio to high quality standards. This situation has led to the deterioration of its properties and high vacancy rates. Improving the current property conditions and strategically enhancing PRIDCO’s future performance contributes to the ascension of the business environment in Puerto Rico and critical for successful fulfillment of the needs of the portfolio’s current and future tenants. A third-party asset manager could institutionalize best practices

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Civil Service Reform: Rethinking Employee Evaluation

Employees, for the most part, want to know how they are doing in their jobs, what they can do to further strengthen their skills and competencies to better carry out their duties, and what opportunities exist to advance in their careers. A well-designed and executed evaluation system can provide this and more, contributing to building an organizational culture characterized by high-performance and continuous learning and development. Achieving this in the Puerto Rico government is the subject of the third essay about the Civil Service Reform (CSR). Despite the many potential benefits in instituting a well-designed, development-focused employee evaluation system, the Government of Puerto Rico has largely overlooked this important managerial task. Moreover, civil servants face increasing pressure to deliver in an environment that demands more to build an efficient, effective, and accountable government. This is why coming up with the right employee evaluation framework was vital to the goals of

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Transforming Puerto Rico’s Public Education System Through Professional Growth

Professional growth is a powerful motivator. Public school districts that provide robust professional development opportunities, including both formal training and experiential learning, can develop strong leaders within their systems.  In Puerto Rico, equipping education professionals with new skills and experiences is crucial for the transformation of the public education system to support better student outcomes. That is why the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico (FOMB) and the Puerto Rico Department of Education (PRDE) together launched the Education Leadership Development Program (ELDP) to support mid-career education professionals. Over three months, nine participants from across PRDE’s regional and central offices engaged with high-impact topics in education and leadership through workshops, readings and discussion sessions.  The program also gave participants experiential learning opportunities via a trip to Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) to learn from District leaders and peers. Participants shared best practices, discussed strategic priorities and visited the District’s exemplar

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