Person of Interest: Meet Peter Zanoni
● By Kylie Cooper
It's been a little over three months now, since you've been appointed to the position of City Manager. How have these first few months been?
The first three months have been fast-charging. My days have been filled with meeting and greeting and further getting to know the goals and aspirations of our Mayor and City Council, key stakeholders, and our residents. I have focused on assessing our leadership team—those professionals heading up our 25 City Departments—and have begun to ll key vacancies within the organization.
Can you tell me what some of that looks like?I have made nine executive appointments so far, eight of whom are individuals within a minority classification. And, while addressing sever- al major policy issues that have been lingering for some time, such as our land ll operations contract, our utility customer billing issues, and several parks and recreation maintenance items, I have developed, together with our financial management team, a well-received $1.1 billion FY 2020 Annual Operating and Capital Budget that I presented to City Council on July 30 for the fiscal year that begins on October 1.
What inspired you to go out for this position in the first place?
It did not take me long to realize Corpus Christi, who had been search- ing for a City Manager for several months, needed a strong leader to help guide this great city forward during a time of a tremendous growth. I have known about Corpus Christi’s and the greater Coastal Bend’s extraordinary assets since relocating to San Antonio some 22 years ago. Having the opportunity to lead a large city organization forward, together with a strong Mayor and City Council, in times of tremendous growth while capitalizing on our strong assets, was the driving force in seeking the appointment as City Manager. Leading a team of professionals who will help move our City forward in these unprecedented times is truly exciting.
So, you worked for the city of San Antonio prior to this position. How do you think your time there has influenced you and the ideas you'll bring to Corpus Christi?
I worked for the City of San Antonio organization for 22 years. I spent 9 of those 22 years in the City Manager’s Office—and most of which was in the capacity of Deputy City Manager, a second in command position. In San Antonio, I worked on the development and implementation of the City’s largest infrastructure programs; the City’s annual street re- construction and maintenance programs; urban and neighborhood planning and development; and, maintenance of the City’s numerous assets. I plan to utilize these experiences and expertise here in Corpus Christi. e top priorities of the community are in areas for which I was the lead executive in San Antonio including strong financial management, planning and development, and infrastructure development and maintenance.
What are some of the immediate goals you have been working towards during these first few months in your position?
Other than the previously mentioned items, I have focused on the community’s top three priorities which are: improving our streets, our development services operations, and our park system.
I have made strong financial investment recommendations in the FY 2020 Proposed City Budget to include a funding level of $128 million for new, reconstructed, and maintained streets – which is more than the funding budgeted for the past two fiscal years combined. I also recommended more funding in the budget for park maintenance and recommended eliminating all City pool entrance fees for our patrons for the 2020 pool season. I have also worked with our department directors and budget staff to cut waste in order to develop a more efficient organization. For the FY 2020 Proposed Budget, we have identified nearly $4 million in savings that is being redirected to Council and community driven priority areas. Finally, I am working with my leadership team to develop project workplans for initiatives underway. These workplans will increase accountability and ensure that directors are following-thru to complete City services and infrastructure projects.