BUFFALO, N.Y. — The number of state employees making more than $100,000 a year jumped eight-percent last year from the year before.

The top four all make more than $500,000 a year. The highest paid state employee is Reuven Pasternak, the CEO for health systems at Stony Brook University on Long Island. He makes more than $673,000.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher was paid $655,000 last year.

The top 50 all make more than $400,000, and all work for the state university system or New York City colleges.

The Governor’s office criticized top salaries at SUNY and CUNY on Monday saying the administration costs in the system are outpacing other states. Zimpher defended the salaries and said SUNY has achieved more than $100-million in cost savings in recent years.

The Governor is calling on the college system to develop a way to reduce administrative overhead. The SUNY board of trustees approved a three-percent raise for Zimpher last July, and now SUNY administrators are seeking a five-year extension of the SUNY 2020 plan, which allows the four-year colleges to raise tuition up to $300 a year.

Zimpher said Monday that the university system will expand its benchmark analysis to determine whether college leaders are being offered competitive market-based salaries.

2 On Your Side talked with the Executive Director of the Empire Center for Public Policy, an Albany-based independent think tank, on Monday. Tim Hoefer says having access to the salaries is a good place to start.

“On one hand, we want to make sure that we’re being judicious with our, with our tax dollars, and that we’re paying people what they’re worth and what we’re willing to pay them. On the other hand, we have to make sure that we’re paying a market-rate and I think that’s the argument that you would get from the agencies from SUNY or from CUNY. They want to make sure they can be competitive and then there are two sides to this story, but again it goes back to just making sure that we have this data and that’s it’s available,” says Tim Hoefer.

© 2016 WGRZ


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