Expensive Evaluation to ‘Transform’ University of Puerto Rico’s Medical Sciences Campus

Since Mayda Velasco Bonilla became chairwoman of the University of Puerto Rico’s (UPR) Governing Board (JG, in Spanish) in August 2021, the members have never voted to approve the contracts that add up to $1.2 million so far this fiscal year to cover the operations of the Office of Institutional Transformation (OTI, in Spanish), in charge of implementing the institution’s Fiscal Plan. The JG’s regulations establish that said contracts must be approved by its members, who were not consulted about the selection of the External Collaborators Committee members that evaluate the operations of the Medical Sciences Campus (RCM, in Spanish). The Committee was created to “identify deficiencies and areas of opportunity in the RCM,” as stated in a contract between the Governing Board and Cedrela Consulting Group, a company that would analyze the Committee members’ recommendations. 

Cedrela and Bluhaus Capital were the first companies to benefit from OTI contracts. Before being hired by the JG for $350,000, Bluhaus had contracts with the Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF, in Spanish) to develop the UPR’s Fiscal Plan and structural reforms, while the JG contracted Cedrela for $50,400 to advise in managing projects that could affect the Plan. The members of the External Collaborators Committee were chosen by Velasco Bonilla, who informed the JG about the only two in-person meetings that the group had had, which have cost the UPR $60,884.