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Former Upstate hospital president still on payroll, despite resignation

Ryan Delaney
WRVO News File Photo
SUNY Upstate Medical University and University Hospital in Syracuse.

Despite resigning as president of Upstate hospital amid questions about his compensation, Dr. David Smith is still being paid as a faculty member at the medical school.

When Dr. Smith resigned as president of SUNY Upstate Medical University and University Hospital Nov. 15, he retained his status as a tenured professor of pediatrics. He’s been on medical leave from the position for over two months after undergoing back surgery.

Credit courtesy / SUNY Upstate
SUNY Upstate
Dr. David Smith.

Smith is now a member of United University Professions, or UUP, the union that represents SUNY professors. After the transition to his faculty position, the hospital set Dr. Smith’s salary at $205,558 a year, according to documents received by WRVO through a Freedom of Information request.

Smith went on medical leave shortly before he resigned.

It's a common practice for college administrators to also be granted tenure as part of their contract and to keep the tenured position after stepping down.

Upstate spokesman Darryl Geddes said in an email Jan. 10 that Dr. Smith is on medical leave as a tenured professor, but would not discuss specifics such as salary.

Smith resigned after SUNY began investigating his compensation from two hospital contractors totaling nearly $350,000 in 2012. He was named president in 2006.

A SUNY official says their investigation is ongoing and no disciplinary action has been taken yet.

The FBI and state Inspector General are also investigating Smith’s relationship with the contractors, MedBest and Pediatrics Service Group, sources have told WRVO. The state comptroller's office is auditing the hospital's $22 million contract with MedBest, which the hospital doctor's group created in 1996.

At least two other faculty members received pay from MedBest. Steven Brady has since retired as chief financial officer. He was also MedBest's executive director. Wanda Thompson, the hospital's head of operations, is still employed.

An email to Dr. Smith from WRVO has not been returned.