Facing criticism, Zimpher compromises on raises

In her testimony to the New York State Senate Higher Education Committee on Friday, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher announced a compromise plan that retains salary raises for three of her deputies but forfeits housing allowances.

Prior to Friday's announcements, Zimpher had faced criticism from New York State Assemblywoman Addie Russell and United University Professions President Phillip Smith for increasing executive compensation at a time when SUNY institutions are struggling to maintain faculty and staff lines in the wake of multiple funding reductions from New York State.

According to the SUNY website, Zimpher will now withdraw the housing allowances that had previously been instated for herself and for Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Monica Rimai. The two allowances combined had totaled $150,000.

Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost David Lavallee and Senior Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation and Secretary of the University John O'Connor will no longer receive originally proposed housing allowances of $60,000 and $39,000 per year, respectively.

Lavallee, O'Connor and Johanna Duncan-Poitier, the chancellor's deputy for the education pipeline and vice chancellor for community colleges, will each receive a raise of $30,000, bringing their respective base salaries to $315,000, $275,937 and $250,000.

Zimpher's base salary is $490,000 and Rimai's is $325,000.

The chancellor said in her testimony that the three deputies receiving raises have each taken on additional responsibilities following consolidation of duties that had eliminated positions. "In the face of harsh fiscal realities, we have been able to identify over $3.5 million in savings through our overall restructuring and consolidation program here at system administration through reductions in both personnel and operating costs," she said.