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A $7,000 pay raise was approved Wednesday for University at Buffalo President Steven B. Sample, prompting an attack by the union representing SUNY professors.

Only Sample and three other presidents in the SUNY system received salary increases from the SUNY Board of Trustees. Sample's pay will rise from $126,800 to $133,775, keeping it "competitive" with similar jobs in the private sector, the trustees said.

Based on recommendations by a committee of trustees, the pay raises will be restricted to the presidents of the two SUNY Health Science Centers and the two university centers, including UB, which have a Health Science Center on campus.

Limiting pay raises to those four officials "was done in the interest of fiscal restraint," said SUNY Spokesman Kenneth Goldfarb.

SUNY Chancellor Bruce Johnstone and 29 other top SUNY managers will not receive a salary increase this year, Goldfarb noted.

But any increase for top management is unreasonable, according to the faculty union, United University Professions.

"If there is money to raise the salaries for members of top management then . . . why does SUNY have to threaten layoffs? It's a question of priorities," said union spokeswoman Linda Rosenblatt.

Sample responded through Ronald Stein, UB's vice president of university relations, who noted Sample's salary increase mirrors the 5.5 percent increase received by union members this year.

"Although market data support a salary increase for all (33 top managers in the SUNY system), given the uncertainty of the current fiscal situation within the state of New York, the committee has recommended that salary adjustments for most (top managers) be deferred," the trustees committee recommended to the board.

But Ms. Rosenblatt insisted that the SUNY board is not making the difficult choices in dealing with fiscal problems.

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