The Nashville Hospital Authority gave their CEO a favorable performance review Monday night — while apologizing for it being his first evaluation since being hired in 2015. The board also decided to keep him on for three more years, and to give him raises, though not starting until next year, citing the city's current budget crunch.
CEO Joseph Webb's review process has been fraught. None of the people who started work on it are even on the Hospital Authority any more. The document reviewed Monday night is dated from June 2017 but was never made public. And Webb's contract extension last month prior to completing the review caused a wave of board resignations in protest — including another made public this week.
The review cited communication challenges with "key stakeholders," including Meharry Medical College which is General Hospital's landlord and supplies many of the doctors. It also pinpointed Webb's tendency not to be "forthcoming" with the Hospital Authority about financial challenges, and they said he lacked a "sense of urgency" given the budget problems at the hospital.
On Monday, just four of the six remaining board members gathered to consider Webb's performance and decide on terms of his new contract. Under his old contract, Webb has been making $350,000 plus a $1,000 monthly car allowance — already the highest paid employee of Metro Government.
And since General Hospital has required midyear cash infusions from the city, several of the board members who remain — including Rev. Ed Sanders — said it would send the wrong message to give him a raise as many Metro employees may go without.
"We can't pay you enough, alright, and what your gifts and talents are worth are probably greater than what we're putting on the table," he told Webb, looking across a conference room table. "But we are living in an environment and a situation right now where we probably ought to be strategic in the way we express our commitment to you and our expectation of you as we go forward."
The Hospital Authority did give Webb a list of goals in order to earn raises of as much as 10 percent in the future — one is reaching a new agreement with Meharry Medical College where the hospital doesn't have to pay doctors so much when they see uninsured patients, as well as providing doctors who spend less time in the classroom. Another goal is to avoid returning to the Metro Council for more midyear money.