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Departed SUNY Poly Execs Did Not Resign, Personnel Records Show

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Departed SUNY Poly Execs Did Not Resign, Personnel Records Show

Four former SUNY Polytechnic Institute executives, who departed late last year in the wake of the Kaloyeros scandal, were either discharged or laid off, personnel records obtained under the state Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) show.

The executives, all paid through the SUNY Research Foundation, were Christine Waller (associate vice president of sponsored programs), Carl Kempf III (vice president for policy and regulatory affairs), Dinna Eskin (associate vice president for policy and regulatory affairs), and Jerry Gretzinger (vice president for strategic communications and public relations). The Times Union initially reported the departures in November and December of last year, but in each instance a SUNY spokesperson either declined to comment or declined to say whether the executives, who have not been accused of any wrongdoing, had resigned or were fired.

In late December, The Alt filed a FOIL request with the SUNY Research Foundation seeking, among other records, the personnel files of Waller, Kempf, Eskin, and Gretzinger. Roughly one month later, at the suggestion of Peter Taubkin, the foundation’s records access officer, The Alt narrowed the scope of the request to include only records created or updated since January 1, 2016 related to “salary/wages/remunerations, performance evaluations, and changes in position or employment status.”

On Friday, The Alt received, among other documents, SUNY Research Foundation “employee term/leave” forms and separation agreements for each of the four executives. On a term/leave form in each executive’s file, under “termination reason,” an “X” was placed next to a box marked “Discharged/Layoff.” (An “X” did not appear next to an adjacent box marked “Resigned.”)

The Alt emailed the documents to Holly Liapis (SUNY’s spokesperson), Peter Taubkin (the SUNY Research Foundation’s spokesperson), and Morgan Hook (SUNY Poly’s spokesperson), asking if any of them would dispute that the four executives had been fired.

“We do not comment on personnel matters,” Morgan Hook replied. “And to be clear, that should not be taken as a confirmation or denial of your premise—it should be read as our declining to comment on this matter.”

The four former executives could not be reached for comment.

The three SUNY spokespeople also did not comment on the extent to which the separation agreements signed by the executives, which include confidentiality clauses, were custom-tailored.

UPDATE: Larry Rulison of the Times Union has reported, after reviewing the separation agreements, that the four former employees “received a total of nearly $115,000 in lump sum [separation] payments.” They also gave up the right to sue SUNY Poly. 

Jerry Gretzinger received $39,629; Dinna Eskin received $18,830.80; Christine Waller received $25,107.68; and Carl Kempf III received $31,384.64. 

 

Here are screenshots from the documents:

eskin-fiol-doc gretzinger-foil-doc
 kempf-foil-doc
waller-foil-doc

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