SUNY Upstate President accused of padding $600,000+ salary

<font size="2">Dr. David Smith</font>

The head of SUNY Upstate Medical University is on paid leave after SUNY leaders learned he was padding his state pay without permission.

An Albany Times Union report says Upstate President Dr. David Smith was about to become the 18th president of Pennsylvania State University when the allegations about his actions surfaced.

There is no word yet how long Smith will be on leave. SUNY headquarters is threatening more severe actions as they sort through sources.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher says this involves an ongoing personnel matter, and the Chancellor and Board of Trustees will await any findings from that review before taking any other actions. "While SUNY moves quickly to complete its review and Dr. Smith focuses on his health, it is important that patients and students at Upstate have strong, uninterrupted leadership and Dr. Eastwood is uniquely qualified to fill this role," said Chancellor Zimpher.

A search firm that was working for Penn State as they determined who would become the school's next president uncovered the extra pay. The search firm says Smith was arranging extra pay through outside companies attached to his school, and that other executives at the school may be involved as well.

The two companies named in the report have been the beneficiaries of major multi-million dollar contracts with SUNY Upstate. A search of state records shows there are 21 contracts between Pediatric Service Group LLP and Upstate Medical University total $35.6 million. There are two contracts between Medbest Medical Management and Upstate Medical University totaling $22.4 million.

Penn State cancelled a public announcement about the presidential search last Friday after the allegations surfaced.

Dr. Smith was appointed president of Upstate Medical University in 2006. He currently makes $625,000. $315,000 of that is salary, plus an additional $60,000 housing stipend and $250,000 from the SUNY Research Foundation.

In a letter from November 1, SUNY Chancellor Zimpher alerted Smith to a review of his income, saying he accepted $349,295 from outside sources without her approval.

Zimpher has named Dr. Gregory Eastwood officer-in-charge of SUNY Upstate Medical University effective immediately. He previously served as president of Upstate from 1993-2006.

SUNY Upstate Medical University is the largest employer in Central New York.