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Pierluisi designates Marrero to Secretary of State post

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi announced the designation of Omar Marrero as Secretary of State, who if confirmed, would steer two government offices.

Marrero, who is currently the executive director of the Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF, in Spanish), working directly with the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico to finish the restructuring of Puerto Rico’s public debt.

During the announcement of the new appointee, Pierluisi noted the “exemplary performance in the positions [Marrero] has held in government.”

“All the appointments I’ve made have been of fully qualified individuals to fill the positions I have entrusted to them. Today is no exception,” Pierluisi said.

During his tenure in public service, Marrero has worked as Puerto Rico Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO, in Spanish) secretary, executive director of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, the Convention District Authority and the Public-Private Partnership Authority.

Following the strike by Hurricane María in September 2017, Marrero was responsible for establishing the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3), establishing working relationships between the local government and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the US. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

He transformed the Puerto Rico Convention Center into the emergency command center and led the drafting of the Build Back Better Plan, as the first report of damages and reconstruction costs after Hurricanes Irma and María.

In addition, Marrero achieved the elimination of the reimbursement process under section 270 of the Stafford Act and FEMA’s recognition for establishing internal controls for federal funds that are “among the best in the nation,” Pierluisi said.

He also worked on the creation of a $750 million Revolving Fund for Reconstruction that will allow funds to be disbursed to municipalities while federal agencies make the requested reimbursement.

“Undoubtedly, my appointment as Secretary of State by the governor represents the greatest honor and recognition of my professional career in public service, which I will reciprocate with the same dedication and work ethic that has characterized me,” Marrero said.

Marrero will remain at the head of AAFAF until the ongoing restructuring process of the government’s debt is completed. While he holds both jobs, Marrero will not receive additional financial compensation for running the State Department, Pierluisi said.

Marrero’s designation is already getting pushback from lawmakers, who earlier this year rejected Pierluisi’s first choice for Secretary of State, Larry Seilhammer.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 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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