A controversy over a proposed sabbatical for the chancellor of the State University of New York hid an attempt to ease the chancellor out of office, says The New York Times in an article (free registration required) today.
For the past few days, politicians in Albany have been debating a proposed six-month sabbatical for Robert L. King, SUNY's chancellor. SUNY's board had been expected to approve the sabbatical Thursday. But he withdrew the request Thursday, amid criticism from Democratic politicians of the idea of paying six figures for a leave to a chancellor at a time when the university faces many pressing issues.
The article in The Times says that SUNY board members, with the blessing of Gov. George Pataki, a Republican who is a long-time friend of King's, saw the sabbatical as a way to ease King out of office. Now King has pledged to leave some time during the next six months, The Times says.
In withdrawing his sabbatical request, King cited "challenges" facing the university, not the flap over the sabbatical or any plans to force him out.
King was a controversial pick to lead the 64-campus system when he was selected in 1999. He had held influential positions in state and local government, but had not led colleges.
While The Times suggested that SUNY board members want King out, The Albany Times Union reported that King may want out. An article in the newspaper says that King was an unsuccessful candidate last year in the search for a new chancellor of Syracuse University.