The Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics is actively reorganizing its internal operations and on Tuesday opened the call for a new executive director who should be in place by November, Board Chair Arnaldo Cruz said.
During a news conference at the agency, Cruz said the restructuring began when former Executive Director Mario Marazzi stepped down from his post in February 2019. He was succeeded by Orville Disdier, who has steered the Institute through an operational reorganization that is being done in three stages.
The goals of the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan are based on the results of an organizational assessment carried out by third-party company Linterna, LLC. from November 2018 to April 2019, at a cost of $34,500.
Ultimately, the Institute will seek to develop an administrative structure that allows the proper functioning of its internal processes; restructure the statistical coordination committee to operate effectively and increase compliance with the law governing the Institute and that establishes its mission; and improve its budget by diversifying services and projects to shore up external or non-governmental funds.
The first goal — from August 2019 to January 2020 — seeks to create and standardize internal processes and human resources projects so that the Institute can be organized administratively and operate efficiently, Cruz said.
The second goal — from February 2020 to February 2021 — calls for restructuring the Institute’s projects and work to fulfill its mission and contribute to government agencies and municipalities of Puerto Rico.
The third goal — from March 2021 to August 2022 — responds to the Institute’s economic needs and seeks to find budgetary independence from the government, which assigned $1.7 million for its operations, Cruz said.
“We’re pleased to have a tool that provides direction to where to route the Institute based on a diagnosis that allowed us to evaluate the performance of each of its duties,” Cruz said. “This operational review brought as a result some recommendations that promise to make the Institute more agile and committed to enforcing its public policy,” he said.
The Strategic Plan was approved by the Institute’s board and is already being implemented by Disdier, who said “we have already taken significant steps toward meeting all phases of the plan, including those that are outlined for later years.”
Search starts for permanent executive director During the news conference, Cruz confirmed the Institute has opened the call to fill the post of executive director on a permanent basis.
As part of that, the Institute created an advisory committee comprised of nine private-sector members: Ronald Wasserstein, executive director of the American Statistical Association; Rafael Irizarry, biostatistics professor at Harvard University; Héctor Cordero, professor at the School of Public and International Affairs of the Baruch College of the City University of New York; Giovanna Guerrero, executive director of CienciaPR; Joaquín Villamil, president of Estudios Técnicos; Juan Lara, partner and chief economist of Advantage Business Consulting; Edwin Meléndez, Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies; Javier Hernández dean of the School of Business Administration of Sacred Heart University; and Francisco Montalvo, director of the Inter American University’s School of Business Administration and liaison of Puerto Rico 2000 — Partner Institute World Economic Forum.
The committee will guide the recruitment process that should be completed by November. Interested candidates, from Puerto Rico, the U.S. mainland and Latin America, have until Oct. 3 to submit their credentials.
On Tuesday, Disdier confirmed he will apply for the job, saying in a letter that “at the appropriate time, I will share my reasons for having made this decision.”
“However, I can state in advance that, based on the more than 20 years I have worked in public service, academia and scientific research, and in the more than 10 years I have been at [Institute,] I have discovered that it is essential that important public institutions maintain stability and continuity.”
“[The Institute] is currently implementing a new strategic development plan that involves complex administrative changes and project and program management innovations,” he said.
“During this critical period, more than an administrator, “[The Institute] needs an experienced transformative and humanistic leader. I will notify you when I submit my application for the position of Executive Director at [The Institute,]” said Disdier, who is an epidemiologist, educator and data scientist.