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July 16, 2013 3:55 PM Petraeus Will Now Work for Cheap

By Daniel Luzer

OneDollar

Former CIA Director David Petraeus, who generated controversy earlier in the month when Gawker revealed that City University of New York would be paying Petraeus $200,000 to teach one course at the school, has apparently been chastised (again). He’s taking a pay cut.

According to an article by Ariel Kaminer in the New York Times:

On Monday, it was announced that Mr. Petraeus would, on second thought, teach for just $1.
“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.

The irony of this is that it’s CUNY that wins most here. The public college now gets a fancy, famous guest lecturer basically for free. This is despite the fact that CUNY was the villain in this case; observers criticized the school for its decision to pay so much money to hire one man for a really low demand position, despite hiking tuition while pleading scarce state resources.

The punishment here is mostly to Petraeus. The general surely didn’t need so much cash for such an easy job (which, as Gawker put it, consisted of “about three hours of work, aided by a group of graduate students to take care of ‘course research, administration, and grading’”) but if CUNY was willing to pay him that amount, there’s no reason he should work for less money. He has no role in CUNY’s finances, why shouldn’t he demand as much money as he can get?

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer