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City reveals overtime payments to health director amid possible EEOC claim

City reveals overtime payments to health director amid EEOC complaint
Posted at 10:02 PM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 23:46:30-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Weeks after sending Corpus Christi city leaders a letter announcing her intention to file an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claim because of a dispute over overtime pay, the city revealed Thursday how much overtime pay Public Health Director Annette Rodriguez has collected over the past 20 months.

“Rodriguez has made over $600,000 since the beginning of the pandemic," Corpus Christi Finance Director Heather Hurlbert said. "And of that, $200,000 is strictly overtime."

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Documents obtained by 6 Investigates confirm those figures.

From January of 2020 to October 15, 2021, Rodriguez made nearly $300,000 in regular pay. Overtime costs of just over $200,000 also increased the costs owed by the city to the Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS). During that time frame, Rodriguez received nearly $110,000 into TMRS.

KRIS 6 News began asking about overtime numbers, and other documents related to the health district last week.

As a salaried, city employee at the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District, Rodriguez would normally not be eligible for overtime.

But at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nueces County started paying overtime to its salaried health district.

The city, which is also Rodriguez's employer, followed suit — for a while.

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Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni put a stop to the practice in April.

“He felt like that, even though we were still in the pandemic, that the major part of a lot of the work that was going on and that the hours had decreased," Hurlbert said. "And so he felt like it wasn’t warranted — that we’re back more into a business as usual type of situation.”

It's unclear if Rodriguez's possible EEOC claim stems from overtime she's worked since April but has not been paid for per the new policy.

She referred us to her attorney on that issue, and we weren't able to reach him.

Zanoni told KRIS 6 News it is unlikely the city will be reimbursed for Rodriguez's overtime costs.

He says that while the city could submit for reimbursement through a state or federal grant, Rodriguez has not provided the documentation necessary for the city to do so.

Documentation typically required is call logs, meeting notes, or copies of agendas for meetings attended, Zanoni says.

He adds that grant funds available to the city have already been allocated to address city infrastructure needs or to combat COVID-19.

Moving forward, Zanoni says he is working on a new policy that would require any employee receiving overtime to be working from the office.