In a stunning defeat this week, Nueces County Commissioners removed County Judge Barbara Canales as lead negotiator over the Health District. Canales is believed to be have single-handedly destroyed the 40 year relationship with the City of Corpus Christi continuing to lash out against city officials in the media. Insiders are saying Barbara Canales used her emergency powers like a dictator, making important decisions without the consent of the County Commissioners and telling them, too bad, there was nothing they can do. In response and in a huge political blow, County Commissioners unanimously replaced Barbara Canales in Health Department negotiations. Their actions override the County’s Interlocal Agreement that names Barbara Canales as the Health Department lead. The County Commissioners have officially stripped Barbara Canales of her power position at the Health Department.
The Crónica has also learned that Corpus Christi/ Nueces County Health Director Annette Rodriguez made more than Dr. Anthony Fauci during the pandemic. Rodriguez, who worked primarily from home, made a whopping $600,000, while Fauci pulled in a little more than $430,000. The Corpus Christi/Nueces County Health director Annette Rodriguez made more than all four million federal employees, including the President of the United States and the Surgeon General.
Why didn’t Dr. Fauci, who oversees a $6.1 billion dollar budget as Chief Medical Advisor to the President and NIAID head, qualify for overtime pay? He is a salaried employee. How did Annette Rodriguez, a salaried Health Department employee, qualify for overtime pay? Because Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales made the executive decision using her emergency powers and approved the overtime pay, without background documentation. Now Commissioner Brent Chesney is calling for a state audit.
Commissioner Chesney has objected to continuing to pay overtime to exempt employees — including Rodriguez — because, he said, the costs have been excessive to the taxpayer. The top City Management team, including the City Manager, did not receive overtime pay. County Commissioners, including Brent Chesney, Joe A. “JAG” Gonzalez, and Robert Hernandez are refusing to continuing to pay the astounding overtime and gross expenditures Barbara Canales has approved. Canales paid salaried Annette Rodriguez overtime totaling an estimated $200,000 during the pandemic. Now County Commissioners are acting to protect the taxpayers in sweeping moves this week, appearing emboldened against Barbara Canales’ over expenditures. More on this investigation to come.