David Petraeus-CUNY salary: Ex-general drops salary to $1 to avoid criticism.

David Petraeus Agrees to Massive Pay Cut

David Petraeus Agrees to Massive Pay Cut

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July 16 2013 11:07 AM

David Petraeus Cuts CUNY Salary to $1 After Heavy Criticism

Former CIA director and retired four-star general General David Petraeus applauds as he makes his first public speech since resigning as CIA director at a University of Southern California dinner for ROTC students on March 26, 2013

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

David Petraeus is willing to give up $199,999 to avoid another round of bad PR. The New York Times reports that the retired four-star general has agreed to take just $1 from the City University of New York as part of his deal with the school that will have him teaching one seminar every semester, along with giving a few public lectures:

"The general never was taking on this teaching assignment for the money," said Robert Barnett, his lawyer, who, along with CUNY, confirmed 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." So Mr. Petraeus proposed waiving his salary "to remove money as a point of controversy," Mr. Barnett said.

As the Times reminds us, Petraeus' April appointment as a CUNY visiting professor "turned into a minor scandal" after "some professors and politicians expressed outrage over his six-figure salary." The school has disputed that it had settled on the $200K salary that was first reported by Gawker. The website used a FOIA request to confirm that Petraeus and then CUNY chancellor Matthew Goldstein had agreed earlier this year on that number. The school, however, maintains that despite those emails, Petraeus had actually agreed to a smaller sum, all from private funds. Regardless, it's a safe bet that "smaller" sum was a great deal larger than one dollar.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.