Stephen Spahr, currently Deputy Inspector General for the New York State Metropolitan Transit Authority, has been named Chief of Staff to Frostburg State University President Jonathan Gibralter and Vice President for Economic Development and Government Relations. President Gibralter announced the appointment to the FSU community Wednesday, Aug. 2.
Spahr's appointment was made in response to a recommendation by FSU's internal self-study, which was completed for FSU's reaccreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The recommendation was based on FSU's mission statement, part of which emphasizes the University's important role in the region's economic development.
The self-study recommended that FSU hire a coordinator of regional economic development who would report directly to the University President. That person's role would be to publicize more effectively FSU's programs to the surrounding business community and to work with state and regional economic development agencies to promote the Allegany Business Center at FSU, a 56-acre business park at the south end of campus.
"I believe firmly that Mr. Spahr brings to Frostburg State enormous strength in government relations as well as the ability to assist us with regional economic development. His varied background will be an asset to the University and an aid to me in managing and troubleshooting various complex projects planned or under way for our community," Gibralter said.
"I am very much looking forward to working with Dr. Gibralter and the campus community to help bring the University into the future," Spahr said. He will join FSU in late August.
Spahr has significant administrative experience in various government agencies, particularly in economic development and government relations. He frequently dealt with legislators on a variety of projects. He has consulted with lawmakers on matters involving health care, criminal justice and transportation issues, and he has spent years concentrating on reinforcing ethical practices and compliance in government operations. In addition, he is vice chair of the Farmingdale State University of New York's College Council, an advisory board.
His achievements at the New York State MTA include the negotiation of a 20 percent increase in the agency budget for the development of new surveillance programs. Spahr has also served as regional director for New York City in the New York State Department of Health with wide-ranging regulatory responsibility over a health care delivery system serving a community of over 12 million inhabitants. He also was director of New York’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the nation’s largest health care prosecutions agency, and provided oversight to its $30 billion program.
Spahr and the agencies for which he has worked have made a number of significant achievements. He procured over $4 million in state and federal funds for the creation of a fraud detection data warehouse, which was honored as the best of its size from the Data Warehouse Institute and was included in the Smithsonian Institution's permanent collection. He procured several million dollars to fund research into the use of artificial intelligence networks to investigate fraud patterns in payment systems. And during Spahr's tenure, when he led day-to-day operations, the MTA Inspector General's office received the Knighton Award for Best Audit in 2004 from the National Association of Local Government Auditors for the review of over $1 billion in long-term shortfalls in a government pension system.
Spahr received his law degree from Hofstra School of Law in 1979 and holds a B.A. in political science from SUNY. He will be seeking admission to the Maryland bar as soon as possible.
Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of 13 institutions in the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit the Web site at www.frostburg.edu.