The executive president of the Water and sewage Authority (AAA), Elí Díaz Atienza, presented his resignation today, which will be effective on February 27.
Díaz Atienza is also the representative of the governor Wanda Vazquez before the Board of Fiscal Supervision (JSF) and will hold that position until the same date or until the first executive designates her new delegate, the official himself confirmed to El Nuevo Día.
His decision was consulted and approved by the AAA Governing Board.
“When I started in this position in the Authority, I had really thought about making a two-year commitment. But, after taking office, hurricanes Irma and Maria came, the drought and fiscal matters, which left me with additional time to carry out the different goals proposed in the fiscal plan and the work schedule of the corporation ”, he said in an exclusive interview with this medium.
“For a while now, I have a desire to return to the private sector and share more time with my family. I knew this was a temporary process, and I think it’s time to start making the transition, ”added Díaz Atienza, who is an engineer.
Díaz Atienza was appointed to the AAA by former Governor Ricardo Rosselló, who resigned last July after the scandal of the controversial Telegram chat. That controversy also cost Christian Sobrino the position as a representative of Rosselló before the JSF. Consequently, Vázquez, who replaced Rosselló by constitutional means, appointed Díaz Atienza as his delegate in the agency that controls the island’s finances.
Publicly it has transpired that Díaz Atienza favors the presidential candidacy of the former resident commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, who will face Vázquez in the primary of the New Progressive Party.
“It is public knowledge that I worked and helped Pierluisi in his primary campaign when he went against Rosselló (in 2016), and that I have a good friendship with him and his family, but I have respected the law and have not entered into political positions. The Organic Law of the Authority prohibits me from working on political matters as long as I am the Executive President, and I have been very careful not to go into those matters, ”he said.
That attitude, he added, allowed him to work with Rosselló and do the same with Vázquez, with whom he said he had an “excellent, sincere and clear relationship” and “very good communication.”
Vázquez, for his part, thanked Díaz Atienza for his work.
“In difficult times, he accepted the challenge and demonstrated his ability, professionalism and passion to work for the development of Puerto Rico. We wish him the greatest success in his professional career, ”said the first executive in written expressions.
The official said he leaves the AAA without regrets, although with some accounts pending. “There were achievements that I wanted to accomplish and I did it,” he said, mentioning, for example, the restructuring of the public corporation’s debt, regaining access to funds from the federal Agency for Environmental Protection and Rural Development of the Federal Department of Agriculture , and reactivate – after five years inoperative – the capital improvement plan.
“Most of the fiscal initiatives were fulfilled. Now, what is missing is the implementation of the plans, which will take. I think that this is the perfect time to make the transition, besides that I have in my environment a possibility of professional opportunities in the private sector that I cannot miss, ”he stressed.
On what he leaves pending, Díaz Atienza said: “When I started, I had the idea of doing much more in less time, but hurricanes, drought, fiscal matters and, more recently, tremors cause delays in the implementation of things “
Although he assured that the post-Maria recovery projects financed by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEMA) “have moved quite well,” he acknowledged that he would have liked to see them completed.
Along these lines, he recommended to those who replace him that he “give them priority” to the execution of the fiscal plan and the auctions of the projects contained in the capital improvement plan.
Díaz Atienza’s passage through the AAA was no stranger to controversy. According to the public corporation’s fiscal plan, the water rate increased, by 2.5% for residential clients, in 2018 and 2019, which generated citizen unrest. The increase will be repeated at the beginning of each fiscal year until 2023.
Likewise, the leadership of the Authentic Independent Union denounced, on multiple occasions, the alleged attempts at privatization by management, particularly with the smart meter installation project.
Díaz Atienza was executive director of the Solid Waste Authority during the governorship of Luis Fortuño. On that occasion, he also held the position for three years, leaving him at the beginning of the electoral period.
“My departure now is a very personal and professional decision of mine, which I have pondered for several months. It was part of my initial plan not to remain in the Authority for four years, ”he concluded.