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Deputy City Manager Peter Zanoni is on the short list to become the next city manager of Corpus Christi, according to media reports out of that city.
Zanoni confirmed to the Rivard Report that he applied for the position shortly after San Antonio’s then-City Manager Sheryl Sculley announced her retirement plans in November.
“This is not about leaving San Antonio … I have this talent and experience from working with Sheryl … I almost feel a responsibility to use it in another Texas city that needs help,” he said Wednesday afternoon. “It would be a cool opportunity.”
Zanoni and all five other lieutenants of Sculley were on the short list in San Antonio as the city searched for its own replacement. City Council narrowed the field to Deputy City Manager Erik Walsh and Assistant City Manager Maria Villagómez, ultimately selecting Walsh. His first day was March 1.
“I’m not seeking the job because I didn’t get this one here,” Zanoni said, noting that he applied long before the finalists were selected in San Antonio. “It’s just an interesting job and it would be exciting because [Corpus Christi] does face a lot of the challenges that exist [or existed] here.”
Like San Antonio and other growing cities, Corpus struggles with homelessness, affordable housing, infrastructure, equity, and more, he said. “I’ve heard [through media] that Council is not happy with how some of the [City] operates.”
If he doesn’t get the job, Zanoni is happy to stay in San Antonio, he said, and he has told Walsh about his pending application. “I’m not actively searching for a job [elsewhere] right now.”
It’s been nearly one year since Margie Rose “abruptly” resigned from her position as Corpus Christi city manager, according to the Corpus Christi Caller Times. Assistant City Manager Keith Selman, who is also on the short list, has stepped up to the position in the interim.
San Antonio’s selection and hiring process appears to have been more transparent than the one taking place in its neighbor to the southwest.
“The city has not turned over the list of all applicants to the Caller-Times, despite repeated requests,” the newspaper reports. “City officials have claimed that the list and accompanying information — like resumes, applications and letters of interest — requested is the property of the search firm.”
In November, voters approved a firefighters union-backed measure that capped future city managers’ salary to roughly $312,000 and tenure to eight years. There has been talk of changing the city charter in 2021 to allow for better compensation of future city managers, but it’s unclear if that will gain broad support.
In Corpus, Rose was earning a $220,000 salary, according to the Caller. In 2017, both Zanoni and fellow Deputy City Manager Erik Walsh were compensated more than $300,000, including base pay, leave payouts, and other benefits.
Corpus Christi has a population of more than 325,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. San Antonio has more than 1.5 million residents.