Carl Hayden, one of the state's most veteran education policymakers, resigned Tuesday from the State University of New York Board of Trustees six weeks after Gov. Andrew Cuomo replaced him as board chairman.
Hayden, who also was the longtime state schools chancellor and a Board of Regents member, was replaced by H. Carl McCall, the former Democratic state comptroller and senator. McCall was the party's nominee for governor against Republican Gov. George Pataki in 2002.
"I depart now, not out of any sense of unhappiness or disappointment, but because my personal experience convinces me that that it is rarely a good idea for a former chair to hang around," Hayden wrote in a letter dated Tuesday to Cuomo. The resignation is effective Dec. 31.
Hayden, an Elmira lawyer, praised McCall as a "seasoned, distinguished, adept leader." Hayden called SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher "the most dynamic leader in American public higher education" and said SUNY's future is bright.
McCall, a leading black politician in New York for 50 years, supported Cuomo in his campaign for governor last year. It was an important endorsement for Cuomo, who won the Democratic nomination after Gov. David Paterson, the state's first black governor, dropped his election bid among ethics investigations. Those probes included one by then-Attorney General Cuomo.
As schools chancellor, Hayden led the Board of Regents through an era of conflict in raising standards and greater accountability at schools, in part through more standardized tests. He left the regents with the uncommon title of chancellor emeritus when his term on the panel ended in 2002.
Five years later, Spitzer appointed him to the SUNY board as chairman and appointed McCall as a member of the board. There, Hayden led the SUNY board through years of budget cuts from Govs. Spitzer, Paterson and Cuomo, each time fighting for greater funding for the 64-campus system.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York