New York State Senator Ken LaValle today demanded that the State University of New York (SUNY) reconsider huge pay hikes recently given to three top administrators at a time when the institution has put in place a furlough program for most SUNY central employees as a way to cut costs.
LaValle, the long-time Chairman of the Senate's Higher Education Committee and a champion of SUNY, called the raises - - which totaled a whopping $30,000 for each administrator - - "ill-timed and insensitive." The raises were first reported by the Albany Times Union.
"During these difficult economic times, these massive administrative raises are out of step with SUNY's mission of providing a first-class education for middle-class students, and it's incredibly tone-deaf to the legitimate economic concerns of both the institution and its rank-and-file educators and support staff," Senator LaValle said.
"I am not passing judgment on whether or not these raises are merited. These individuals are certainly talented professionals who are taking on additional responsibilities. But, at a time when middle-class families are doing more with less, and other SUNY employees are being told to stay home and give back a portion of their pay each month, these raises are sending a terrible message."
Meanwhile, LaValle said, SUNY is facing significant cutbacks thanks to the Democrats who run the State Legislature. The Albany Democrats have cut important funding to SUNY and swept hundreds of millions of dollars from a recent tuition hike into the State's General Fund so they could use it not for higher education but for other, non-higher education, purposes.
"This really amounts to a one-two punch to SUNY. The New York City Democrats are treating the institution as a piggy bank so they can continue to spend, and now the institution is handing out generous raises to its top personnel while everyone else is hurting. SUNY should do the right thing and reevaluate these pay hikes," LaValle said.