A state research institute is laying off 38 employees, a shakeup that comes after its former leader was charged in a bribery and bid-rigging case that rattled Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration.
The layoffs were first reported by The Associated Press on Friday. SUNY Poly interim president Bahgat Sammakia said the terminated employees are all based in Albany and include support staff — but no research faculty and no employees at the institute's Utica campus. Affected employees were being notified Friday.
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"We made sure when we did this that we did not jeopardize our major research areas," Sammakia told The AP.
He said the layoffs are part of a broader restructuring effort that will save an estimated $10 million a year. SUNY Poly, with 1,100 employees, combines education in nanotechnology and other high-tech fields and pursues partnerships with startups and established tech companies.
"We support President Sammakia's willingness to make the difficult strategic decisions necessary to put SUNY Poly on stronger financial footing and place even greater focus on excellence in research and innovation," said Jason Conwall, a spokesman for Empire State Development, the state's main economic development agency, which assumed a greater oversight role following the arrest of former SUNY Poly President Alain Kaloyeros.
Kaloyeros, a nanotech expert, led many of Cuomo's high-profile efforts to lure high-tech jobs to New York. He stepped down last year after state and federal prosecutors charged him with steering lucrative state contracts to hand-picked companies closely connected to Cuomo. Kaloyeros is a nanotech expert whose salary of more than $800,000 made him the state's highest-paid employee.
He was one of eight men arrested in September in a federal investigation into two Cuomo administration programs, the Buffalo Billion and Nano. Kaloyeros also faces state charges alleging he worked to rig a bid for a student housing project for an Albany-area developer.
An attorney for Kaloyeros has said his client is not guilty.