Inspector General Forwards Complaint to SUNY Auditor
by Buck Quigley - posted 5:33 pm, May 27, 2011
It’s a question I initially posed last July to the NYS Comptroller’s office. They referred me to the Commission on Public Integrity. I asked them about it via email on August 4, 2010. They responded on January 24, 2011:
I spoke with our investigators, who have reviewed your email of August 4, 2010, concerning certain actions involving officers and employees of the Research Foundation of the State University of New York (“Research Foundation”) and UB Foundation Activities Inc., a separate and distinct entity from the Research Foundation.
The Commission has statutory jurisdiction to act upon complaints that allege a violation of Public Officers Law §§73, 73-a or 74 or Civil Service Law §107 which apply to officers or employees in the executive branch of State government, or Legislative Law Article 1-A, which apply to lobbyists or clients of lobbyists. Prior to April 25, 2007, the State Ethics Commission, the Commission’s predecessor agency, did not have jurisdiction over the Research Foundation. As of September 24, 2007, all matters pending before the State Ethics Commission were transferred and assigned to the Commission on Public Integrity. [See, Ch.14 Laws of 2007, §40.]
The Commission does not have jurisdiction over UB Foundation Activities Inc.
As a result, the Commission will not be proceeding with this matter.
It seems like a simple enough question. Should a state employee be handsomely compensated by groups that claim to be private and beyond the reach of the press and public? No extra work is involved, the employee is doing the same job. Could such a set up create a conflict of interest?
Click here to read SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher’s memo recommending that UB president Satish Tripathi receive a combined total of $265,000 from the SUNY Research Foundation and the University at Buffalo Foundation, in addition to his state salary of $385,000. But that’s just one example of such a salary top-up. Some others were documented in The Great UB Heist. Earlier this year, UB Foundation attorneys turned over a 34-page list of individuals on their payroll. It represents over a thousand people.
Click here to read a 2004 audit by the NYS Comptroller’s office describing a situation where a state employee was also being paid by a foundation. The practice was deemed improper, and stopped, because:
By allowing this University employee to be paid a supplemental income by the Foundation, the University is using the Foundation to circumvent the State system by allowing a State employee to earn a greater income than what is permitted under that employee’s salary and title plan and has violated the Retirement and Social Security Law. (page 26 of the document)
In 45 days, the SUNY Auditor’s office is to advise the Inspector General of the results its investigation.