September 24, 2010

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UUP president testifies against SUNY execs' pay raises


UUP President Phil Smith calls hefty pay raises for three top SUNY officers "unconscionable," as he testified before the Senate Higher Education Committee in Albany Sept. 24. Smith was invited to testify by the panel that conducted a hearing on the $30,000 pay hikes for the executives who were already earning at least $200,000.

"Is it appropriate for these increases to be granted when SUNY officials have seen fit to furlough hundreds of lower-salaried System Administration employees and to lay off dozens of others? Of course not. This is unconscionable," Smith testified.

Smith also blasted SUNY's spending millions of dollars to refurbish executive offices at SUNY headquarters in Albany and their decision to give housing allowances for two of the three officers. He said the education of students needs to be SUNY's top priority.

"We need to remind the chancellor and the Board of Trustees that this is not their University, Smith said. "This University belongs to its students and to the people of New York who expect the priority of the University to be the education of their children. New York state's hard-working families deserve nothing less."

In a self-described compromise plan, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher told the committee that she would cancel the housing allowance given to two of the three officers and the allowance previously allocated for herself and Senior Vice Chancellor Monica Rimai.


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