Management Shake Up in Corpus Christi


Leadership Changes at a Critical Time

Corpus Christi witnessed significant shifts in city management this past Thursday as Assistant City Manager Steve Viera and the City’s Chief Financial Officer, Constance Sanchez, retired. Viera had been overseeing various critical departments, including the Health District, while Sanchez, with over 30 years of experience, managed areas such as Animal Care Services and the Municipal Court.

Reasons Behind the Departures

Sanchez’s decision to retire stemmed from a reorganization within the City Manager’s Office, which proposed moving her role to the Finance Department. “After being an employee for the City for 33 years, I felt that was a move down and not a move up, so I took the option to retire,” Sanchez commented on her departure.

Immediate Reactions and Impact of Management

The resignations surprised the city, especially amidst ongoing budget discussions and critical fiscal planning for 2024. “It is rather abrupt, maybe not the best time of the year for this to happen,” expressed Councilman Jim Klein. The changes occurred when the city dealt with budget talks, the 2024 bond, and sales tax reissues.

City’s Management Response and Future Steps

City Manager Peter Zanoni announced a nationwide search for replacements in response to the sudden vacancies. “The city is a $1.5 billion-a-year operation. We have a strong team in our budget and finance departments, and we will continue to move forward,” Zanoni reassured. He emphasized the depth of the existing team and the ongoing nature of the city’s operations despite the departures.

Restructuring and Interim Appointments

Following the retirements, the city has seen a restructuring of responsibilities among the existing management team. Additionally, the City Manager’s assistant, Sony Peronel, has been promoted to interim assistant city manager, taking over some of Viera’s former duties.

Outlook and Employee Strength

Zanoni highlighted that the city’s workforce has grown to 4,100 employees, signaling strength and capacity within the city’s administration to handle transitions and maintain continuity.

As Corpus Christi navigates these pivotal changes, its leadership remains committed to its fiscal responsibilities and operational continuity, ensuring that the public services and projects continue without disruption.

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