Chancellor Zimpher To Bring Greater Accountability and Transparency for Compensation of SUNY Leaders

November 15, 2013

New York City — State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today announced a plan to bring greater accountability and transparency for compensation of SUNY Leaders.

Chancellor Zimpher will propose amendments to SUNY's current Salary and Compensation Plan that reflect higher standards of compliance, accountability, and transparency by channeling all leadership compensation through state-controlled funding sources, among other measures. Chancellor Zimpher's rigorous new procedures will include verification that presidents fully explain all external compensation, establish a lack of any conflict of interest for such activities, and obtain approval from the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) for such compensation.

The SUNY Board of Trustees today endorsed the chancellor's review and asked that recommended changes to the Plan be presented for approval at the Board's January 2014 meeting.

“The taxpayers of the state of New York deserve nothing less than a regular and comprehensive review of the university's salary plan for its highest officers,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “As our policies and procedures for compensation are cast into the spotlight as a result of recent events, it is critical that the chancellor's review be conducted thoroughly and promptly, and I commend Chancellor Zimpher for taking this swift and decisive action.”

“SUNY's compensation policies and practices must be re-examined and strengthened in order to reflect the highest levels of accountability and transparency,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “By moving all compensation for campus presidents and other SUNY leaders through state funding channels, we can tighten our controls to ensure that our policies are strong, open, and competitive.”

The salary plan was last revised by the Board on September 15, 2009. Draft revisions to the plan have been discussed throughout the last year or more, at meetings of the Board's Ad Hoc Committee on Personnel and Salary Plan, and have been discussed with GOER and DOB, among others, but changes have not yet been implemented.

SUNY's recent practice under Chancellor Zimpher's leadership has been for the Board to approve total compensation for presidents upon initial appointment, which sometimes includes compensation from affiliated private sources, as well as from public sources. The stated ranges in the salary plan are only for the State portion of total compensation.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state. As of Fall 2018, more than 424,000 students were enrolled in a degree program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY served 1.4 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs in the 2017-18 academic year. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Its students and faculty make significant contributions to research and discovery, contributing to a $1.6 billion research portfolio. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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