Leslie Whatley, the chief of START-UP NY at a meeting...

Leslie Whatley, the chief of START-UP NY at a meeting in Melville on Oct. 22, 2013. Credit: Ed Betz

     Leslie Whatley, the point-person for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s tax-free zones for businesses, will be paid $168,000 per year, state records show.

     The board of directors of Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency, on Thursday unanimously approved a plan to pay half of Whatley’s salary. The amount wasn't discussed in the meeting but was included in documents given to board members.

     The other half of Whatley's salary will be paid by the SUNY Research Foundation.

     Whatley joined the Cuomo administration last fall after serving as head of corporate real estate for the Morgan Stanley investment bank. She will direct START-UP NY, a program where growing companies don’t pay state taxes for 10 years if they locate on a college campus.

     Empire State officials said Thursday that they expect START-UP NY to announce its first participants later this year.

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