Assembly Candidate Nancy Bargar (D-Lakewood) expressed outrage recently over recent revelations that State University of New York (SUNY) executives received double-digit raises and lavish office renovations. She called on SUNY to postpone these plans until New York's economy is substantially better.
"In the face of SUNY professor layoffs and reductions in student aid, I find these proposals insulting," Bargar said. "SUNYs priority should be ensuring our students receive the affordable, top-notch education they deserve, not handing out raises and creating multi-million dollar executive office upgrades at the central offices in Albany.
"While administrators are taking credit for cost-cutting initiatives, it's hard to understand why they should be financially rewarded for doing their job in tough times," said Bargar.
According to an Albany Times Union report, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher is contracting for multi-million dollar renovations at the executive offices at SUNY headquarters. In addition, three high-ranking officials recently received $30,000 raises. These officials already receive monthly housing allowances and have their monthly transportation paid for by SUNY, and are driving SUNY vehicles or retaining a driver.
"These charges disrespect the hardworking residents of New York" said Bargar. "Our state can't afford this and it's an easy project to put on the back burner for now."
Bargar noted that SUNY's Fredonia campus is struggling to keep up with a steady barrage of state budget cuts. "State support for SUNY Fredonia is down, there are fewer professors and classes available, requiring students to extend their stay just to meet graduation requirements," said Bargar. "The trade-off for lavish suites and raises in the $30,000 dollar range is inappropriate."
"Overly generous raises, paid transportation, housing allowances; I don't know what world these SUNY administrators are living in, but I'm quite sure that Chautauqua County parents struggling to send their children to our state schools would be rightfully upset," Bargar said. "It's time for SUNY officials to get their priorities straight and focus their energy on improving our SUNY campuses not their workspaces."