No chancellor, but an officer in charge for SUNY


   The State University of New York doesn’t have a new chancellor yet, but the 64-campus system now has an officer in charge. SUNY’s Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee voted unanimously today to appoint John O’Connor, vice chancellor and secretary of the university, as officer in charge.

   O’Connor will act on behalf of the chancellor’s office until the Board of Trustees appoints a permanent chancellor or takes other action. He will maintain his current responsibilities as vice chancellor and secretary, and his salary will be $245,669 a year. He is not a candidate in the search for a permanent chancellor and serves as staff to the chancellor search committee, according to SUNY.

   Former Chancellor John Ryan left at the end of May 2007, and Interim Chancellor John Clark recently announced he was resigning from the post Dec. 31. (Trustees appointed him as a visiting professor at an annual salary of $195,000.) A search committee has been looking for a permanent replacement. The job pays $340,000 a year, plus the use of a car, drive, a residence in Albany and an apartment in New York City.

   “During this period of transition, SUNY needs a steady, knowledgeable leader,” SUNY Trustees Chairman Carl Hayden said in a statement. “I have great confidence in John O’Connor’s ability. He has more than 25 years of senior level service in higher education and has stepped in to meet a variety of challenges in times of need.”

   The search committee expects to appoint a new chancellor in the near future, SUNY officials said.

   This is not the first time SUNY has appointed an officer in charge. Someone was appointed to that position in 1996, after Chancellor Thomas Bartlett left SUNY.

   O’Connor was appointed vice chancellor and secretary in June 1997 after serving in an acting capacity since December 2006. He assumed additional responsibilities in March 2000 when he became president of SUNY’s Research Foundation. Before that, he was president of a Washington, D.C., consulting firm, served in senior positions at New York University, and worked for the majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives.


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