Amid criticism for involvement in higher ed, Malloy ‘pleads guilty to being very involved’

Facing criticism that he is too involved in the governance at the state’s largest public college system, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said his level of oversight is warranted.

“I am going to push performance and I think as governor I have a right to expect that institutions that are spending this much public money measure themselves. And so maybe I’ll plead guilty to being very involved,” the Democratic governor told reporters at the state Capitol Friday.

The Mirror disclosed earlier this week that the Malloy administration asked the chairman of the Board of Regents for the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities to step down as leader. The governor’s chief of staff said during an interview that with the pay-raise scandal and other controversies that beset the system last fall, it was time for a change.

Malloy said Friday that thes change in the board’s chairmanship was appropriate, given that a new president is settling into office.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing to change things over from time to time, and on the occasion of bringing in a new head of the system — Dr. [Gregory] Gray — it seemed like a logical thing to do,” he said.

The governor’s role in the resignation of Lewis Robinson as chairman has prompted Republican leaders to complain that the governor is too involved in what historically been an autonomous system.

The governor said the reaction to his actions has been “a little overblown.”