Puerto Rico Governor-Elect Ricardo Rossell- chose his campaign manager, Elías Sánchez Sifonte, to replace public finance veteran Richard Ravitch as the island government's non-voting representative to the Puerto Rico Oversight Board.
Rossell- named Sánchez Sifonte Monday as part of a wider announcement of appointments to his incoming administration. He said William Villafañe would serve as chief of staff, Ram-n Rosario Cortés would be secretary of public affairs and public policy, Alfonso Orona Amilivia would be principal legal advisor, and Itza García Rodríguez would be associate secretary.
Starting in January Sánchez Sifonte will replace Ravitch, a public finance veteran credited with helping New York City deal with its mid-1970s fiscal crisis, who was appointed to the role last summer by Gov. Alejandro García Padilla.
Sánchez Sifonte has had a variety of positions in recent years. Most recently he was campaign manager for Rossell-'s bid for governorship. Prior to that he was human resources director for the city of Toa Baja, which according to the El Nuevo Día news web site had a payroll from $16 million to $23 million per year in the last 10 years.
Sánchez Sifonte, a Republican, is a licensed attorney and provided legal advice to the Puerto Rico Senate from 2009 to 2011. He has run Veritas Consulting since 2011. According to El Nuevo Día he worked as a lobbyist to the Puerto Rico legislature without properly being registered as a lobbyist.
The government of Toa Baja shut itself down on Nov. 7 when it ran out of money. Last week the FBI conducted a raid on its offices without providing information on the reasons.
Ravitch told The Bond Buyer that he didn't know Sánchez Sifonte but "would be pleased to share my knowledge with him any time if he should wish it."
Heidi Calero, president of Puerto Rico-based Heidi Calero Consulting Group, said that Sánchez Sifonte had run a skillful campaign.
A representative of a creditor, requesting anonymity, said his organization is "hopeful that Mr. Sánchez can quickly begin to remind this board of what they were selected to accomplish."
The board must seek to restore the commonwealth's access to the capital markets while avoiding a federal bailout, he said.
Rossell-'s new chief of staff Villafañe has been a leader in his campaign. He was the former president of the New Progressive Party's youth division. He had consulting contracts with various government bodies between 2007 and 2013.