With Tim Hagan recently landing a plum job as a senior advisor with MetroHealth Medical Center, it’s worth looking back at the longtime county commissioner’s history with the county-owned, publicly funded facility.
As commissioner, Hagan appointed trustees to the hospital’s board and helped run levy campaigns that fund it. If such support greased the wheels for his employment there today, it would also seem to qualify him for the job.
Back in the late ’80s, however, Hagan split from the other commissioners of the time in support of privatizing Metro, which serves as a safety net for the region’s poor and uninsured. Despite his reputation at the time as a liberal who supported strong, accessible public services, Hagan showed what may have been an early sign of his subsequent embrace of using tax money to drive private profit — a gift he’s honed to perfection with the convention center and Med Mart project.
“Commissioner Tim Hagan deserves a loud boo for his maneuvering to get rid of the [county hospital] system by making the Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital a nonprofit but private hospital,” political observer Roldo Bartimole wrote in a December 1987 issue of The Edition. “The proposal was to privatize the hospital for $1 after the public has poured hundred of millions of dollars into its creation and operation over 150 years.”
Metro officials at the time insisted they needed to privatize in order to stay solvent. The plan was shelved when Metro was found to have $100 million in investments and it was clear the other commissioners wouldn’t push it through anyway.
Currently in between jobs, Hagan could not be reached for comment.