SUNY investigating extra pay for Upstate Medical president
David R. Smith, SUNY Upstate Medical University president. (SUNY)
The president of the State University of New York’s upstate medical campus ruined his chance to become the 18th president of Pennsylvania State University, and is in trouble with SUNY leaders after they learned he has been padding his state pay without authorization, two state officials familiar with the matter said.
According to a letter obtained by the Times Union on Tuesday, SUNY headquarters is reviewing all sources of compensation for SUNY Upstate Medical University President David R. Smith and is threatening more severe measures. Smith, who is based in Syracuse, was placed on paid leave Tuesday.
The trustees of Penn State were close to announcing that Smith would be the next president at the home of the Nittany Lions, according to the people familiar with the search. Instead, the public announcement planned for last Friday was canceled after questions about Smith’s compensation in New York arose.
A search firm working for Penn State, which also works for SUNY, found out about extra pay Smith arranged through outside companies linked to his school, the people familiar with the situation said. The search firm contacted SUNY officials about Smith’s additional income. Several members of his executive team at Upstate Medical — the biggest employer in the Syracuse region — may also have been receiving unapproved extra pay from the outside companies, according to the sources.
Smith, a pediatrician, became president of Upstate Medical in 2006 after five years as chancellor of Texas Tech University. SUNY pays him $625,000, including $315,000 in salary plus a $60,000 housing stipend approved by the SUNY trustees, plus $250,000 from the SUNY Research Foundation. Smith is a member of the Research Foundation’s board of directors.
SUNY announced on Tuesday that an officer in charge has been appointed to take over duties for Smith, who in recent days has reported feeling ill, according to a state official. Now in charge at Upstate Medical, Gregory Eastwood had been the school’s president for 14 years through 2006. The announcement said the change at the top is related to a personnel matter and “due to an ongoing review of compensation issues at Upstate Medical University, as well as recent health issues.”
Smith’s outside money has been coming from two companies during recent years that are linked to SUNY Upstate: Medbest Medical Management Inc. and Pediatrics Service Group LLP.
From the timesunion.com