UAlbany fails to enforce SUNY policy against
Chartock for full-time 'moonlighting'
Is the professor an embarrassment to UUP?
by G. M. Heller
Wednesday, February 6, 2002
Alan Seth Chartock has reason to be smiling.
He takes home more money annually than the Governor. And the bulk
of it comes from public coffers, from you the taxpayer. But
is it legal?
Mr. Chartock is a full professor with tenure at SUNY's
UAlbany and New Paltz campuses while simultaneously working as a full-time
employee at WAMC, Inc., a ten-station National Public
For his teaching efforts, Mr. Chartock receives from SUNY a generous
full-time salary package which includes benefits. SUNY's funding
for Mr. Chartock's salary is paid him from monies ultimately obtained from
taxpayers of the State of New York and from tuition fees paid either by
students or by their families.
Since 1981, Mr. Chartock has been 'moonlighting' full-time
at radio station
Inc. while simultaneously working for SUNY. This
extracurricular work is done in apparent violation of a SUNY policy
which strictly forbids full-time moonlighting by SUNY faculty.
From WAMC, Inc. Mr. Chartock also receives compensation.
His WAMC, Inc. salary alone nets Mr. Chartock more than $100,000
per year. That salary includes a benefits and retirement package
wholly separate and distinct from his SUNY salary-benefits-retirement
UAlbany's provost and vice president for academic affairs,
Santiago, states that: ".....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. Santiago apparently has not done his college homework. His view
seems squarely at odds with SUNY's official written policy towards
full-time moonlighting which is the same now as it was back in 1986.
'Burke Memorandum' still SUNY policy
Around the corridors at SUNY-Central, that anti-moonlighting
policy has come to be known as "The
Burke Memorandum," named for the provost who first officially
clarified the state university system's rules about "extra-service."
Mr. Burke did so in a 'Memorandum to Presidents' dated December
23, 1986 and sent from SUNY-Central to the presidents of SUNY's
State-operated campuses, with copies sent to SUNY's business
officers and personnel directors, as well as to the presidents of the community
colleges, and deans of the statutory colleges throughout the state.
The Burke Memorandum's key section dealing with moonlighting
appears unequivocal in its meaning and intent:
"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." -- Joseph C.
Burke, Provost, SUNY-Central, December 23, 1986.
According to SUNY-Central, nothing has changed. Mr. Burke's
policy prohibiting full-time moonlighting remains in effect. In the
words of one top
SUNY official, "'The Burke Memorandum' is
(To read The Burke Memorandum,
This may take a few seconds.)
SUNY's professor Chartock has been taking home a full-time paycheck
from WAMC, Inc. since almost the beginning of his employ at that
organization in 1981. He is one of WAMC, Inc.'s four original
corporators. That equals close to 21 years of taking paychecks home
from two separate full-time jobs in clear violation of SUNY policy.
It is also an apparent violation of the State University Professional
Services Negotiating Unit Agreement, the collective bargaining contract
SUNY and United
University Professions, the union representing faculty --
a union of which Mr. Chartock is a member.
Now, it is not exactly a secret within a 100-mile radius of downtown
Albany that Mr. Chartock works at radio station WAMC-90.3FM.
His used-car salesman's delivery is unmistakable and is heard throughout
the day on any of various FM frequencies in WAMC's upstate New York
market. His labors for the radio station thus occur under
the collective noses of senior officials at SUNY-Central, UUP,
at UAlbany and
SUNY New Paltz, the campuses at which Mr.
Indeed, many of SUNY's most senior officials have been interviewed
numerous times by Mr. Chartock in radio programs broadcast statewide over
the station and its radio affiliates. So it is not as if SUNY's
bosses or UUP's officials can plead ignorance as to what professor
Chartock has been up to these past two decades.
It is a fact that Mr. Chartock's SUNY paycheck and his WAMC,
Inc. paycheck come inevitably from public coffers. His SUNY
check comes via a state university system supported by state andfederal
The professor's WAMC pay comes via a tax-exempt 501c3,
'charitable,' organization exempt from federal and state
income taxes, recipient of federal and state grant monies, and of tax-deductible
contributions from corporate underwriters and the general public.
Mr. Chartock is the first to let anyone know that he is considered politically-connected
in New York State. It's all the professor can do when on-air not
to drop the name of some schmuck with whom he's just shared an elevator
ride and whom he now considers his 'good' friend.
His seemingly special affinity for those connected with the state's
Democratic Party political machine is not lost on his radio audience;
Not to mention almost daily on-air references
ad nauseam to his
and Mario program co-host, New York's ex-Governor Mario
the nationally known politician and self-styled Liberal
(that's with a capital L -- not that there's anything wrong with that)
Did we mention? He knows Cuomo.
Cuomo is the 'almost-ran man,' the guy who, when the chips
were down during Campaign 1992, surprised everyone and -- how does
one say this delicately -- showed that he 'did not have what it takes'
to throw his fedora into the Presidential ring at a time when a then relative
unknown from Arkansas showed that indeed, he did. (In '91
and '92, then Governor of the State of New York Cuomo, the keynote speaker
at 1984's Democratic National Convention, was known to a lot more folks
nationwide than then Gov. William Jefferson Clinton.)
There is also little question as to where on the spectrum Mr. Chartock's
political sympathies lay having cut his teeth under the tutelage of some
of the top leaders in that already-mentioned state Dem machine. It
is these earlier associations with political power in the corridors of
the State Capitol which are rumored to have helped the professor's SUNY
career immensely when the then relatively new associate magically attained
valuable tenure as the youngest full professor in SUNY's history.
So perhaps it comes as no surprise that professor Chartock has for years
seemed to be able to avoid official scrutiny of his extra-curricular activities
and non-SUNY incomes.
Officials at SUNY and UUP look the other way
Nonetheless, questions keep cropping up which deserve answers:
Exactly why do so many senior officials at SUNY and at
University Professions look the other way concerning Mr. Chartock's
obvious and blatant violations of the university system's anti-moonlighting
Why do officials allow him the leeway of having a second full-time
job with a second full-time salary package when SUNY personnel and
rank-and-file are not allowed the same valuable opportunity and benefit?
Why do SUNY-Central and UAlbany officials seem
to go out of their way to protect this professor, especially whenever
issue of illegal moonlighting comes up?
Questions like these are especially significant when one realizes the
incredible generosity shown by New York State in the
package negotiated by UUP and offered to tenured faculty
SUNY system. Salaries and benefits are especially generous
to those like Mr. Chartock with more than two decades of seniority.
(To read the State University Professional
Negotiating Unit Agreement, Click
It is not as if SUNY officials or state authorities do not have
the tools with which to go after Mr. Chartock if they had the political
weal. In fact, New
York State Public Officers' Law, Section
74 is one law specifically cited by Mr. Burke in his Memorandum.
is the ethical standards of that law which are to apply to all SUNY
professional staff engaged in 'extra service activities'.
Mr. Burke's Memorandum states: "Additionally, all extra
service activities must conform to the ethical standards mandated by Section
74 of the Public Officers' Law."
(To read The Burke Memorandum,
This may take a few seconds.)
Applying the standards found in section 74, the code of ethics, to the
university system's professional staff was an important legal step for
Mr. Burke to take. His specific application of that section of the
Public Officers' Law to
SUNY professional staff is significant because
of the actual way section 74 was worded by the legislature. SUNY
employees do not appear to be amongst those originally included in the
legal definitions section of the law.
(To read NYS Public Officers' Law,
Section 74, Click
Mr. Burke's policy decision to apply those ethical standards established
in section 74 to SUNY professional staff corrects that glaring omission,
at least as it applies to staff engaged in extra service activities.
Mr. Burke, in his position as provost of the university, had the legal
authority, jurisdiction and power to make such a determination and to issue
a policy to address it. By so doing, he thus made section 74's ethical
standards legally binding as a policy upon university professional staff.
In the matter of SUNY professor Chartock, his extra service activities
do appear to violate the standards mandated by section 74's code of ethics.
Two of the law's standards read as follows:
NYS Public Officers' Law, Section 74:
¶ 3. Standards.
> d. No officer or employee of
a state agency.....should use or attempt
to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions
for himself or others.
> h. An officer or employee of a state agency.....should endeavor
a course of conduct which will not raise suspicion among the public that
likely to be engaged in acts that are in violation of his trust.
(Editor's Note: Readers should determine
on their own whether professor Chartock's 'moonlighting' activities off-campus
violate any of the other ethical standards prescribed in the Public Officers'
Law. Please refer directly to Section 74: Click
Chartock's pay surpasses Governor Pataki
With two separate full-time paychecks, one from SUNY, the other
from WAMC, Inc., and with both coming from publicly supported, tax-exempt
entities, the result is that SUNY professor Chartock receives
greater compensation from New York's public sources than does Governor
George E. Pataki.
This is something to ponder, especially at a time when state taxpayers
are being asked to tighten their belts and to accept fewer governmental
services, and even more especially when students at SUNY are being
asked to ante-up some of the
highest state university tuition fees
in the nation.
Can one think of any other New York State public employee that enjoys
as much privilege and largess from state government and public coffers
as professor Chartock?
(Editor's Note: If readers know of any,
we'd sure like to know, too -- please e-mail the editor.)
More questions raised
All this begs even more questions:
Has Mr. Chartock's failure to comply with SUNY's anti-moonlighting
policy violated his contract with SUNY and/or any aspect of New
York State law?
Has the professor misused his political connections, position, authority,
and protected job status as a tenured university employee to avoid compliance
with SUNY's anti-moonlighting policy and in order to pursue and
obtain personal gain?
Has the professor obtained SUNY compensation and benefits for
two decades under false pretenses?
If found to have violated SUNY policy, what percentage of compensation
paid out over the years is the State/SUNY entitled to recover for
two decades of illegal 'double-dipping'?
If the professor were indicted and convicted for criminal misconduct,
or if he were sued in civil court by SUNY, what fines, penalties,
or civil damages should be assessed as a message to other white collar
crooks in state government that such behavior cannot be tolerated?
What other lapses within SUNY might investigators find if they
had the gumption to turn over other rocks at that august body?
And finally, do state law enforcement officials have the political weal
to pursue white-collar criminals who prey on state government, the bulk
of whom, unlike Mr. Chartock, do not have the political connections
to stave off inquiries, and do not advertise on radio their disdain
for the rules?
Also, see related letter: 'P.S.
Isn't it wonderful .... '
©2002 WAMC Northeast Pirate Network®/™