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Steve Hagerty stepped aside and now Daniel Biss is off and running and doing a great job as Evanston’s new mayor.

Screenshot of Mayor Stephen Hagerty

I was talking to my sister in San Diego today telling her about how well our city has performed fighting the awful coronavirus. She was impressed with our vaccination numbers and how well we have kept the number of deaths down in this battle. She asked what I thought was the key reason we were so successful.

I told her our mayor at the time of the outbreak of the pandemic was actually the founder and CEO of a nationally known disaster management consultancy company. Hagerty Consulting helps corporations, small companies and governments respond to and recover from a variety of disasters.

My sister’s reaction was “No s—, WOW are you folks lucky!” I responded by saying I have talked to many neighbors and others around the community and not too many knew of his background. Lots of credit goes to our terrific Evanston health care providers, without a doubt, but having a leader with that kind of background and expertise cannot easily be measured.

Black flags in front of the Morton Civic Center were a memorial to Evanstonians lost to COVID-19. (Photo by Wendi Kromash)

I thought about the many times I walked by the Civic Center on Ridge Avenue and shook my head in dismay at all the black flags fluttering in the breeze. Each little flag represented a resident who was stricken by COVID-19 and died. They numbered almost 120 by the time they were finally removed from the front lawn a few weeks back.

I pondered all of the spouses, siblings, relatives and friends who were forced to deal with the sudden, terrible loss of a loved one. Then I wondered how many little black flags there might have been without the background and leadership of Steven Howard Hagerty! It sends a chill up my spine.

Mike Roche
former Evanston teacher

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  1. Excellent piece. Hagerty’s contributions to Evanston are many and important. Hagerty was no career politician. He knew what it meant and took to meet a payroll, to create economic opportunity for hundreds even thousands, and especially to respond to crises. Hagerty as mayor always used the words “together” and “we.” Hagerty wisely and effectively led our City during one of its most challenging periods. He, and many others of course, the “together,” helped to keep down Covid deaths and hospitalizations. He early emphasized the need and benefits of masking and vaccinations. Evanston enjoys one of the highest full vaccination rates, perhaps the highest, on the North Shore and indeed in all of Illinois. Many, again, Hagerty would say, are responsible. He advocated for and worked hard to achieve reparations remedies, improvements to policing, and to improve relations with our world class university, Northwestern. Modern water infrastructure, new climate change initiatives, the Fleetwood-Jourdain Center, the Levy Senior Center, Fountain Square, and of course Evanston’s “Crown Jewel,” the new Robert Crown Community Center, are all better or exist because of Hagerty’s efforts and support. Good job, Steve Hagerty. History will treat you well.

  2. A great job thanks to Mayor Hagerty. But we ALL must also be grateful to ALL of the members of our Evanston Fire Department, for their constant responses to our citizens that needed these men & women to respond 24/7 dealing with Covid-19!