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City takeover of city-county health district gets final approval

City takeover of city-county health district gets final approval
Posted at 10:34 PM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 23:34:44-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The city takeover of the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District is now a done deal.

Three county commissioners joined the city council at City Hall Tuesday for a ceremony that included the signing of the agreement that gives the city full control of the health district.

“Today is a new day for the collaboration between the City of Corpus Christi and Nueces County," Mayor Paulette Guajardo said. "And that means a new day for the residents of this city and this area."

March 1 is when the county will no longer share the operating duties of the health district with the city and will instead begin paying for services from the city-run facility to meet the needs of county residents.

City Manager Peter Zanoni says the change will not only make the health district more efficient, but it will also make it a better workplace for around 100 employees who currently work there.

“Things weren’t clear (under the city-county model)," he said. "Missions weren’t clear. So this will help to set one path with the city being the 100-percent operator of the health district."

The change will also force all health district employees to reapply for their jobs.

County Judge Barbara Canales is concerned that the city might not rehire all of them.

"They’ve been doing a great job," she said. "They’ve been on the front lines. They’ve been in dangerous positions. And they need to be able to keep their jobs.”

Among the five members of the commissioners court and the nine members of the city council, Canales is the only member to vote against the city takeover of the health district.

Commissioner for Precinct 4 Brent Chesney thinks the jobs are safe.

He takes Zanoni at his word that the city expects to rehire "most" of the current employees.

"That’s what they keep saying," Chesney said. "They’re going to do everything they can to get the vast majority of these — especially — I say the rank and file — the heroes — the people that worked on the front lines — I feel pretty comfortable that most of all of them will be in good shape.”