Lalor's Bipartisan Effort Scores Win for Taxpayers and Students

Fishkill, NY – Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – Fishkill) released a statement today thanking the City University of New York and David Petraeus for listening to bipartisan criticism and agreeing to a salary reduction for Petraeus from $150,000 to $1. The salary reduction comes immediately after Lalor’s Daily News op-ed critical of CUNY’s original agreement to pay Petraeus $150,000 to teach one class.

“This was a win for taxpayers and students,” said Lalor. “CUNY was going to pay Petraeus $150,000 to teach just one small class a semester. That wasn’t the right way for a public university to spend money. Part-time, but high-priced celebrity professors contribute little to a public university’s mission – providing a quality, affordable education. I’m proud to have led the bipartisan coalition opposed to the bloated salary and I’m grateful that CUNY and Petraeus listened. This puts other institutions on notice that in these tough economic times they need to closely consider every dollar they spend.”

Lalor was the first elected official to criticize the Petraeus salary after the story originally broke. Petraeus was set to receive $150,000 to teach one seminar class a semester at CUNY. He would also receive travel expenses. The class was limited in size to about 30 students. The average CUNY adjunct receives $3,000 per class. Lalor wrote to CUNY’s chancellor asking the school to reconsider the deal. Lalor’s op-ed critical of the deal appeared in the New York Daily News on Friday. CUNY and Petraeus responded on Monday by announcing Petraeus had agreed to a $1 salary. Bill de Blasio and the American Association of University Professors had joined Lalor in criticizing the deal.

Lalor continued, “CUNY and Petraeus ultimately did the right thing. I hope they’re setting an example for other universities. Public universities play an important role in American society. They help students and families climb the economic ladder. That’s a particularly vital role in a city and state of immigrants like New York. Petraeus offers a lot to the university, but it should come out of a spirit of public service. I’m glad he recognizes the right role for public universities.”

“I have great respect for Petraeus, but I also have great respect for every tax dollar. The original deal was wrong for taxpayers and students. But we stood up and let our voices be heard. CUNY and Petraeus graciously listened. This was a win not just for taxpayers and students, but for CUNY and Petraeus as well,” Lalor concluded.