FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly told a Communications Workers of America official today that he has referred the Public Safety and Homeland Security and Consumer and Governmental Affairs bureaus proposals advanced by the CWA to prevent the diversion of 911 funds in Puerto Rico for other purposes, to FCC Staff for review. Mr. O’Rielly’s letter to Luis Benitez Burgos, president of CWA Local 3010, responded to a July 23 letter to Mr. O’Rielly that criticized the past diversion of 911 funds for other purposes in Puerto Rico and proposed a bill to halt the practice. The CWA letter sought Mr. O’Rielly’s support for the measure.
In his letter today, Mr. O’Rielly said, “We are in agreement that diverting 9-1-1 fees is an abhorrent practice, and that state and territory emergency personnel must have access to the collected 9-1-1 funds to ensure that all American citizens have access to fully functional, reliable, and modern 9-1-1 services during their critical times of need. Sadly, Puerto Rico understands the importance of 9-1-1 services and therefore the consequences of 9-1-1 fee diversion all too well, and I have been reassured that Puerto Rico will end its fee diversion practices by 2018.”