CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Corpus Christi will soon have a new man in charge of fixing the city's many pothole-riddled streets.
City Manager Peter Zanoni announced Thursday that Richard Martinez will lead the Corpus Christi Public Works/Streets Department effective Jan. 20.
"We're going to bring someone to the leadership team that understands what it means to have a city public works department," Zanoni said.
Martinez currently serves as the assistant Transportation and Public Works director for the City of Fort Worth. Prior to that, he was the Public Works Operations Manager for San Antonio.
"Richard has over 29 years of municipal government experience in public works departments in two large cities in Texas," reads a City of Corpus Christi press release.
Zanoni overlapped with Martinez when they both worked for the City of San Antonio, and when Zanoni recently determined the Corpus Christi Public Works/Streets Department needed a leadership change he thought of his former coworker.
"I made a cold call to him," Zanoni said. "I knew him from back in the day working in San Antonio."
Martinez replaces current Public Works Director Albert Quintanilla, who will instead serve as assistant director, a position that comes with a pay cut.
Zanoni said Quintanilla's experience mostly is in heavy highway construction with the Texas Department of Transportation and that Ramirez's experience with city public works departments makes him the better fit for the job.
"Given where we are -- the degradation of our streets, and our department, and our equipment, and our know-how -- we need someone that has done this before to get us quickly up to speed, rather than a much larger period of time," Zanoni said.
Public Works/Streets Department workers told KRIS 6 News that Quintanilla is on vacation until Tuesday, and was not available for comment Thursday.
Some Corpus Christi drivers complain about the number of potholes, and they hope the leadership change at the streets department leads to long-term fixes.
"These potholes -- they're so bad that they kind of wear out all the tires on the cars," David Gonzalez said. "Hopefully they can get these roads fixed up."