Canales urges council to delay health department split amid public comments


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales appeared during the public comments portion of the regular Corpus Christi City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday to urge the council to reconsider aspects of the controversial split of the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Department of Health.

Canales argued during the three minutes allotted to residents of Corpus Christi, saying she approached the podium as “Nueces County judge, as well as Nueces County emergency officer and citizen here.”

Recognizing and addressing every council member by name, Canales called the transition to a municipal health department and separate country health district a “rushed process” that could hurt county residents.

“I am here to ask you one simple thing, and it is on behalf of the people I humbly and respectfully represent – if this podium were lower, I would swear to God, kneel down and pray to you about this one thing. , and this is the time, ”she said. “Bishop, Driscoll and Robstown need you to give them time. Please, I ask you, for six months. “

Zanoni, responding to comments, said the concerns were unfounded.

“We made a commitment from the start, and the board has done so with me, that there will be no disruption of service for anyone in Nueces County during the transition,” he said. “We’ve made a commitment from the start that it will probably take us beyond that time frame for the full transition, and it will not be an overnight transition, but rather an incremental time.”

Zanoni said after meeting weekly with health department workers to plan the details of the transition, it’s clear the change will take time.

“We have three goals that we achieve to reach the community that have been waiting for several decades,” he said. “This includes better health outcomes for the community, a better use of taxpayer dollars in health services, and a better work environment for city and county employees.”

He said this goal depends on the fluidity of services to the city and county.

“The 90e– trigger day that is in the contract is January 18e, but we’ve made a commitment from the start that it will probably take us beyond that time frame for the full transition, “he said,” and it won’t be an overnight transition, but rather a progressive time. “

Canales also said that the current health department can be improved with efficiency and modernization. She argued that urban counties such as Harris and Lubbock provide public health services to the large cities they serve.

“If we’ve learned anything in two years, we’ve learned that we need to invest more, not less,” she said.

But in the end, Guajardo and Zanoni agreed that the process would move forward in the necessary time.

“There is no rush here,” Zanoni said. “This is a very thoughtful and thorough process that involves every employee. “

Digital content producer Tim Griffin contributed to this story.