The issue of pay for Petraeus, a retired four-star general and the former commander of allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, to join CUNY's Macaulay Honors College turned into a minor scandal, as some professors and politicians expressed outrage over his six-figure salary while others accused CUNY's administration of lying about what the salary was, The New York Times reported Monday.
While Petraeus declined to comment, the university's administration announced Monday he would teach for $1 instead of his part-time pay of $200,000.
"The general never was taking on this teaching assignment for the money," said Petraeus' lawyer, Robert Barnett, confirming the salary change. "Once controversy arose about the amount he was being paid, he decided it was much more important to keep the focus on the students, on the school and on the teaching, and not have it be about the money."
Petraeus proposed waiving his salary "to remove money as a point of controversy," Barnett said.
When CUNY appointed him in April to teach a seminar each semester and present two public lectures, his salary was reportedly still under discussion, the Times said.
However, documents obtained by Gawker through a Freedom of Information Law request and later reviewed by The New York Times, indicated Petraeus and then-CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein agreed two months earlier on "$200,000 per annum, supplemented by funds from a private gift."
CUNY officials said Petraeus later agreed to $150,000.
The average salary for full-time CUNY faculty members is $89,768. Adjunct professors receive several thousand dollars per course, the Times said.