CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni tells KRIS 6 News the City of Corpus Christi received a letter from attorneys representing Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health Director Annette Rodriguez of her intent to file an Equal Employment Opportunity Claim.
He says other than the letter sent a few weeks ago, the city has received no notice of litigation from Rodriguez, or her attorneys.
“We take them (EEOC claims) seriously,” Zanoni says. “It’s a serious issue. It’s part of the normal business we deal with in the hiring of employees.”
While he could not comment on the specifics of the letter, when asked about a potential conflict regarding overtime, he said both Rodriguez and Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales had been notified the city would stop paying Rodriguez’s overtime.
On June 25, 2020, county commissioners voted to pay exempt county employees at the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District, including Rodriguez, overtime. The employees received back pay beginning February 10, 2020.
Commissioners unanimously renewed that policy over ten times this year from February through September. After approving the policy, some commissioners say they do not remember seeing the exact overtime costs for Rodriguez.
According to a letter attached to the minutes of these meetings, Zanoni was notified of the decision to pay the overtime to these employees and triggered that payment upon verbal or written activation of any emergency situation.
But he says he is unaware of this document. Additionally, he says that the only city department in which exempt employees received overtime during the pandemic was the health district.
The only signature line on the memo is for Judge Canales. Zanoni says it would be unusual in a memo like this for him to not have a place to sign.
Additionally, costs for the health director's salary are shared by the county and city, according to the contract establishing the district.
Zanoni added that Rodriguez has primarily worked from home the last two years and there was no way to certify the hours she worked.
After Zanoni made the decision to cease paying overtime, he says both Rodriguez and Canales were angry at the city’s decision.
KRIS 6 News reached out to Rodriguez for comment and she has referred us to her attorney. We have also reached out to her attorney and will update this story once we receive comment.
KRIS 6 News has also reached out to Canales and will update this story once we receive a response.