According to the City of Corpus Christi Finance Director Heather Hurlbert, City-County Health Director Annette Rodriguez has made nearly $600,000 in payments during the pandemic, billing an unbelievable $200,000 in overtime. It was found that the billing was equivalent to 12 hours a day for every day of the week, for 52 weeks, 365 days of the year with no vacation taken while primarily working from home. By contrast the Health Department employees actually reporting to work, facing infection every day, and being directly involved with the public were making $21,000 a year. Annette Rodriguez salary and overtime was approved by County Judge Barbara Canales.
The Crónica has asked for back up documentation to support Annette Rodriguez’ overtime pay and we have received none. The Crónica has been told that back up documentation does not exist. If in fact this money was not due to the Executive Director, it was taken away from front line workers and the citizens of Corpus Christi. The County Judge Barbara Canales is a lawyer, she understands this and is appearing to look the other way. The Interlocal Agreement between the City and the County requires the signatures of the County Judge and the City Manager to make payments of this kind. It appears that the most recent overtime payments to Annette Rodriguez were not approved by the City Manger.
Now, the City Council voted unanimously to give the County and Barbara Canales 90 days notice pursuant to the contract of which the City and County are the only two parties. The City has the absolute right to withdraw from the Health Department agreement after 90 days notice. Barbara Canales said she received no notice- she is a lawyer and she in fact knows she received notice after the City Council voted unanimously. Any assertion by Canales that she did not receive notice is a absolute lie.
For all of us that read and watch tv we all know the real reason why the City split with the County. We believe Barbara Canales took over at the Health Department claiming emergency powers, mandating by overpaying the Executive Director. Meanwhile the city was having to pay 60% of the bill. She wielded her emergency powers like a sword at the Health Department and the County, gutting the city. She closed city beaches, hired her “consultants” to determinant of the city. Canales actually ruined the good relationship between the City and County that had existed for decades.
Most upsetting to the Crónica? In the time of a pandemic when people were dying, and vaccinations first became available, Barbara Canales forced the people of Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, and all the other cities in her County to go to the Robstown Fairgrounds and wait seven hours in line for a vaccinations. Distraught Senior Citizens cried and were forced to leave the vaccination line. Barbara Canales fulfilled her personal agenda of not allowing health department services to be located within the city limits of Corpus Christi as a demonstration of her personal power and total disrespect for the 360,000 residents of the City of Corpus Christi. And that is unforgivable. That is why the Crónica believes the City of Corpus Christi City Council unanimously agreed to terminate the City’s relationship with Barbara Canales, a relationship that many say can never be repaired.