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Gov’t rolls out Civil Service Reform to adjust public sector salary scales, classifications

The government of Puerto Rico announced the start of a Civil Service Reform that calls for new job classifications and salary compensation adjustments for public workers.

The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico has set aside $11.5 million for this phase of the reform. In addition to this amount, the 2022 Fiscal Plan has allocated $99.6 million in compensation enhancements for public workers, OBoard Chair David Skeel confirmed.

The latest phase of a pilot program that began in August 2021 started at two agencies — the Office of Management and Budget and the Puerto Rico Treasury Department — responsible for the government’s fiscal infrastructure, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said in a press conference.

The salary adjustments and reclassifications for 108 Treasury Department and 48 OMB employees were reflected in paychecks cut for April’s first two-week period, he said.

“The goal of the project is to improve organizational structures in agencies, staff recruitment, compensation and professional development opportunities,” said Pierluisi.

The OMB and Treasury are now working alongside the Office of Human Resources Management and Transformation to lay the groundwork to roll out the reform to a total of 65 government agencies in January 2023, the governor said.

The new organizational structure will temper the functions of public agency personnel to the real needs of the government, he said. The changes implemented at the first two agencies focused on critical areas such as finance, accounting, and technology.

“We’re determined to update the government’s operation, to invest in the training and retraining of personnel, seeking maximum operational efficiency, recruiting the best talent with competitive salaries and developing a long-term succession and knowledge transfer plan,” Pierluisi said.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés said it is the first time that salary scales have been reviewed at the agency in more than two decades.

“Since I came to the Department five years ago, I have been vocal and consistent in calling for better working conditions for my co-workers, including decent compensation,” he said. “This Civil Service Reform is ambitious; the implementation of this pilot project is only the beginning and requires the commitment of all of us who are part of the government.”

Meanwhile, OMB Executive Director Juan Carlos Blanco explained that the government followed labor market trends to adjust salary scales and offer employees fairer compensation that will now be comparable to the private sector.

“This is the first time that the government will have new and modern salary scales, created from a market analysis,” he said.

The Puerto Rico Innovation and Technology Services (PRITS) is developing a platform that centralizes and facilitates access to the application for career jobs in the government.

Skeel said enhancement in compensation is just one of the elements of the Civil Service Reform, which include:

• Organizational redesign: Improving the government’s organizational structure to ensure people with the right skills are at the right place within the organization.

• Employee evaluation: Building a robust employee evaluation system to support the development of existing and evolving skills and to develop clear paths to career advancement.

• Recruitment: Standardizing recruiting processes to be merit-based to recruit talent with the right skills for each role.

“As the Chairman of the Oversight Board, I would like to join the governor in congratulating all employees who participated in the effort to overhaul the finance divisions of the Treasury and the OMB. My fellow members of the Oversight Board are grateful for your hard work and commitment through the recession, fiscal crisis, natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.
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