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Commissioners accept resignation of chief medical examiner; meet to discuss employment of Nueces County human resources director

Julie Guerra, Director of Human Resources for Nueces County was reportedly aware that Sandra Lyden did not have proper accreditation.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Nueces County Commissioners held a special meeting Tuesday where they accepted the resignation of Chief Medical Examiner Adel Shaker.

The resignation is effective Wednesday.

It's all part of the fallout from the investigation at the medical examiner's office that led to the arrests of Shaker and former Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Sandra Lyden.

RELATED: Medical Examiner tried to hide assistant's lack of license, Texas Rangers say

An arrest affidavit for Shaker states that he knew Lyden never had a valid medical license as well as two other county employees. 

One of the employees listed was Julie Guerra, Director of Human Resources for Nueces County. Guerra's attorney, Stephen Byrne said that Guerra shouldn't have to pay the consequences for others, and told commissioners that she did her job. 

RELATED: Nueces County chief medical examiner arrested

"Julie Guerra is highly qualified for the role of the head of human resources department.  In fact, I suggest she's the most qualified person," Byrne said. She's been in that position for 16 years and she's done a great job."

Commissioners met to discuss and consider her position after Guerra was reportedly among those who knew Lyden never had a valid medical license. 

RELATED: Former assistant medical examiner Sandra Lyden released from jail on bond

In the arrest affidavit for Shaker, the investigating Texas Ranger pointed to an interview with Guerra, which states that she's tasked with responsibilities that include conducting criminal history checks, drivers license verification and drug screenings. 

Sheriff of Nueces County, J.C. Hooper was one of a number of other top officials who spoke on behalf of Guerra during the meeting. He told commissioners the ultimate responsibility of a new hire doesn't fall on Guerra, but the head of the department, comparing it to his own position. 

"Its my responsibility to see the person I hired is qualified," Hooper said. "And its my responsibility to see the person I hire has the certification and accreditation required for whatever position I put them in." 

Several other in attendance echoed support for Guerra to keep her job. 

After 3 hours behind closed doors in executive session, commissioners did not take any action against Guerra and instead pushed any discussion about the H.R. position to their regular scheduled meeting on April 27th.

The court did appoint a previous chief medical examiner, Dr. Ray Fernandez as interim chief until a replacement is found.

The county has offered the job to an applicant out of Travis County and are currently waiting for his response.

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