McGUIRE, Staff writer
Wednesday, March 7, 2001.
on Chartock off mark
Alan S. Chartock holds a fistful of jobs around town. In addition to
running WAMC-Northeast Public Radio, Chartock teaches communication courses
at the University at Albany (and a course, for free, at SUNY New Paltz);
he appears as a part-time political commentator at WNYT Ch. 13, and serves
as the unpaid publisher of the student-written Legislative Gazette.
He's everywhere, and that omnipresence -- along with his pedantic personality
-- has made him some enemies along the way.
Not many people know Glenn M. Heller. The Chevy Chase, Md., resident,
formerly of the Berkshires, is circumspect about what he does for a living
("I'm a bum,'' he said), but Heller does have a full-time job: He's out
to get Chartock any way he can.
Heller is single-minded in his efforts to take down Chartock. He runs
a Web site that is all anti-Alan, and includes allegations that range from
the mundane to the borderline defamatory.
Heller won't give an adequate explanation for why he hates Chartock.
Chartock isn't sure why, either. The attacks have been steady since 1999,
but date back more than a decade.
One Heller charge put Chartock and UAlbany in a very uncomfortable position.
Heller uncovered a 1986 memorandum that suggests Chartock violated university
policy for at least the past 15 years by working a second full-time job
-- running WAMC.
State University of New York policy states that "no employee may engage
in other employment which interferes with the performance of the employee's
professional obligation.'' No problem there: Chartock's outside employment
helps him deliver insight in the classroom.
But a recommendation by then-Provost Joseph Burke in 1986 remains in
effect. That memorandum states in part: "No full-time employee ... may
assume another full-time position or obligation either within or without
the University while receiving compensation from the University.'' (For
purposes of disclosure: For the past two years, I've been a part-time paid
lecturer at UAlbany, teaching one journalism class per semester.)
The question: Is Chartock -- who makes more than $91,000 a year teaching
-- in violation, as Heller claims?
Not according to UAlbany. It took several days, but UAlbany's interim
provost and vice president for academic affairs, Carlos Santiago, said
that Chartock was in the clear.
"As applied, and consistent with the underlying Board Policy, campuses
have the discretion to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether, in
fact, the outside employment actually interferes with an employee's professional
obligation,'' Santiago said.
What does all this mean? Not much. There was no deception. There was
no harm to the university. It's clear Chartock earns his money.
Heller's other complaint is that Chartock makes too much from WAMC,
citing a figure of more than $99,000 a year with benefits. Chartock said
the salary is closer to $93,000.
Is that too much? Very debatable. Keep two things in mind: For his first
several years on the job, Chartock received no reimbursement, and as late
as 10 years ago was making only $41,000 a year from his WAMC job.
Secondly, according to a report from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,
the average salary for a CEO at a public station with WAMC's operating
budget was, as of 1999, $93,463.78 -- roughly the same as Chartock's today.
For a point of reference: According to several radio executives in the
market, the average CEO salary at a commercial station in the Capital Region
ranges from $100,000 to $250,000.
Again, Heller misses the mark. He hasn't really nailed Chartock yet.
But he'll keep hacking away.
Public service, or self-serving?
Heller recently appeared on "Live From the State Capitol with Fred Dicker''
on WROW (590-AM) to air his grievances against Chartock. The venue made
sense: The show is a great place to attack Dicker's competitors.
Like Chartock, Dicker holds many titles: state editor of the New York
Post, political analyst for WRGB Ch. 6 and radio talk show host. Dicker
and Chartock don't like each other. That's not surprising, since both rank
high in terms of ego and influence among those in the Capital Region media.
For years, Dicker has used his radio show to take shots at this newspaper
(Dicker was once employed for the old Times-Union) and its reporters, as
well as other Capitol journalists. He also goes after Chartock -- a competitor
on television -- although less frequently.
Dicker sees no conflict in doing so, even though his barbs have the
effect of boosting his standing both with the general public and the sources
for whom he and fellow reporters/commentators are competing.
"I don't bring these things up because I'm looking to grind an ax,''
Dicker said. "It's because I see something that is so foolish. I think
it's nice to set the record straight.''
The difference between Dicker condescensions and a media critic is he
gains a direct benefit from his criticisms -- belittling his direct competitors.
The same could be said if I spent significant time or column space bashing
the Daily Gazette's television and radio writer, or critics from other
Dicker might be the most plugged-in reporter at the Capitol; between
the guests he gets on the radio show (thanks to his column) and his standing
at the Post, he arguably sets the news agenda for other reporters.
But using his radio show to wage battles against foes or competitors
is beneath him. For someone who spends so much time talking about other
journalists' shortcomings, he ought to be able to recognize his own.
Mark McGuire is the Times Union TV/radio writer. His column generally
appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Call him at 518-454-5467, or send
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Cohen is the Times Union editor-in-chief, Mark McGuire's boss.
Call him at 518-454-5040, or send e-mail to email@example.com.
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SUNY prof's radio jobs bring waves of static
By John Milgrim
Ottaway News Service
February 22, 2001
– Alan Chartock is a well-known Northeast Public Radio executive,
a popular tenured SUNY professor and syndicated columnist who spent much
of his career railing against the Republican political machine, cronyism
But now he's coming under fire himself for drawing two separate full-time
salaries on the public and charity doles that alone add up to more than
what the state pays George Pataki to govern.
of all, there's nothing illegal or improper about it. There are a lot of
people in the State University payroll who work other jobs, and that's
the way it is," said Chartock, who's maybe best known for his weekly aired
conversations with former Gov. Mario Cuomo. "I'm a workaholic."
several of those he's publicly taken on, in print or on the air, agree
"If the world was flat, he'd fall off the left side," said Joel Miller,
Assembly Higher Education Committee member. But, "no one has complained
about the performance of the radio station, and if the school isn't complaining
about his performance as a professor, so be it."
recent criticism, however, isn't coming from the state Capitol's halls
but instead from the World Wide Web and owner of the site www.wamc.net,
a so-called "pirate" site to public radio's wamc.org.
much is too much?" blare headlines on the site's home page, critiquing
salaries Chartock and other station executives draw. "The more I started
digging, the more the smell got worse and worse," said Glenn Heller, who
put the site together.
through WAMC in the Capital Region, also controls public radio stations
91.7 in Middletown, 90.9 in Kingston, and 107.7 in Newburgh.
WAMC site, according to SUNY spokesman Dave Henahan, incorrectly states
that full-time faculty can't moonlight.
makes a base salary at SUNY of $91,584 and, according to tax records and
Chartock, slightly more than $100,000 in salary and benefits from WAMC,
which is federally subsidized. He said he volunteered his time to the Legislative
Gazette, a weekly newspaper covering state government and linked to SUNY
New Paltz. He wouldn't discuss his salary for his TV appearances in Albany.
"All of these things allow me to bring perspective into a classroom."
John Milgram is The Times Herald-Record state house reporter. Call him
at 518-463-1157, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Levine is The Times Herald-Record executive editor, John Milgram's
boss. Call him at 845-341-1100, 800-295-2181, or send e-mail to email@example.com.
Telephone 845-341-1100 or 800-295-2181
outside the Middletown area.
February, 2001, Orange County Publications, a division of Ottaway
Newspapers, Inc., all rights reserved.
To go to The Times Herald-Record Web site,
Journalism 101 --
Don't be a hack.
Don't mislead the reader!
by G. M. Heller
March 14, 2001
Rather than in-depth reporting, what we have here
(reproduced immediately to the left and below) are two stories, written
by two separate Albany-based reporters, for two separate, supposedly respectable
Yet, both stories fail to clarify anything. (Both seem even to come
off a bit snide.)
Worse yet, both contain misinformation and statements that mislead the
public. It probably would have been better for the public's
understanding of the issues had neither story been published at all.
In the course of preparing their respective columns, Mr. McGuire and
Mr. Milgrim each contacted WAMC Pirate to inquire as to why WAMC
was making the supposedly outrageous claim that the practice of full-time
by full-time SUNY staff was against University policy.
This of course, was tied to WAMC Pirate's main allegation, as
yet unrefuted by anyone in authority at SUNY-Central, that Alan S. Chartock,
by moonlighting full-time at WAMC while collecting a full-time professor's
salary at SUNY, has now been in direct violation of SUNY policy for over
Both writers were then faxed copies of the so-called Burke Memorandum,
the official SUNY policy on the subject of moonlighting. That policy
states in part, "No full-time employee of the State University may assume
another full-time position or obligation either within or without the University
while receiving compensation from the University."
WAMC Pirate recommended to both reporters that, given SUNY's
14-year history of ignoring Mr. Chartock's obvious and blatant infractions
of the University's written policy, and given Mr. Chartock's well-known
political connections within both the University as well as the State legislature,
it would certainly seem a good idea to get opinions from State officials
outside of SUNY, preferably legal opinions from the offices of either the
State Attorney General or the State Inspector General, or both.
This would not only provide the reporter with an outside perspective
as to whether Mr. Chartock was in direct violation of written SUNY policy,
but also as to whether or not SUNY itself was applying its policies equitably
and without favoritism.
WAMC Pirate further recommended to both reporters that,
rather than rely on middle level personnel from SUNY-Central's public relations
office or spokespeople from the local campuses (most of whom likely would
not be knowledgeable about matters of SUNY employment policies), it would
be better instead to contact SUNY-Central's highest officers for comments
straight from the horses' mouths, i.e., University Chancellor Robert L.
King, Provost and Vice-Chancellor of academic affairs Peter D. Salins,
or University Counsel D. Andrew Edwards.
Mr. McGuire, in his column, fails to quote anyone from SUNY-Central,
relying instead upon the words of an interim provost at SUNY-Albany, Alan
Chartock's stomping grounds. Mr. Carlos Santiago claims, "As applied,
and consistent with the underlying Board Policy, campuses have the discretion
to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether, in fact, the outside employment
actually interferes with an employee's professional obligation''.
Mr. McGuire apparently never follows up with the obvious question to
Mr. Santiago to explain why, if it is SUNY policy to give local campuses
such case-by-case discretion in matters of full-time moonlighting, then
would not it be logical for SUNY-Central to state that to be the
official policy concerning full-time moonlighting, rather than using language
which instead specifically
prohibits the practice?
Provost Burke is quite specific in the use of the word "No" in
his 1986 memorandum. (Mr. Santiago's statement reminds one of the joke,
"What part of the word 'No' didn't he understand, the 'N'
or the 'O'?)
Mr. McGuire, the day after publishing
his column, told me that he did not interview anyone outside of SUNY because
his column would have ended up too long to print in the space provided.
Yet, two-thirds through his column he sidetracks into a lengthy discussion
of radio talk show host Fred Dicker, as if that has anything to do with
SUNY, moonlighting, and whether SUNY is playing favorites and covering
for its politically-connected favorite son Chartock.
Mr. McGuire claims that Mr. Chartock
teaches for free at SUNY-New Paltz, as if the $91,000 plus
that SUNY already pays Mr. Chartock for just 15 class hours of work weekly
is somehow inadequate to cover that extra SUNY-New Paltz work.
(Oh, and don't you think that Mr. McGuire, after expounding so hard
and long about WAMC Pirate's Web site, could have expended the energy
and lineage to type in the 7 letters and one dot of the site's World Wide
Web address - wamc.net - so readers could find it, log onto it,
and decide for themselves just who is and who is not off the mark and self-serving?)
Meanwhile, Mr. Milgrim in his column
fails to search out anyone higher than a mid-level spokesperson in SUNY's
public affairs office, Mr. Dave Henahan, who claims matter-of-factly that
the WAMC Pirate Web site "incorrectly states that full-time faculty
It turns out that Mr. Henahan was
shooting from the hip, and had never even heard of the Burke Memorandum.
That 'blonde moment' was corrected just a few days later when Henahan's
superior Ken Goldfarb, under pressure to clarify the matter, announced
that in fact, the Burke Memorandum was indeed still SUNY's official
What this all boils down to is that here we have two separate, ostensibly
professional reporters who are assigned by their editors to get to the
bottom of pretty serious allegations, some rather nasty.
Yet, rather than getting the story right, and rather than adding to
the public's understanding by interviewing the top people who would
be held accountable, what we get is nothing.
Rather than interviewing outside authorities who themselves could cast
light on the issue of whether SUNY is playing favorites and being fast
and loose with its own policies affecting literally thousands of SUNY staff,
we get even more nothing.
So rather than good reportage, we end up with two stories that fail
to clarify anything, and that violate in almost cavalier fashion one of
journalism's key Commandments: 'Thou Shalt Not Mislead The Public.'
One additional point: Both reporters asked the question of why WAMC
is doing what it does?
WAMC Pirate's answer given to both reporters, an answer which
failed to make it into print in either story: "Because the Albany media
have failed miserably when it comes to investigating political and institutional
chicanery in New York State government, and the Chartock matters are a
perfect example of this, and of the Albany media's lackluster performance
in doing its job."
To that we add the following observation: If the local media cannot
nail a thief like Alan Chartock who steals right from under their collective
noses, how can they hope to get other white collar crooks that prey on
taxpayers, but don't bother to advertise?
©2001 WAMC Northeast Pirate Network®/™