Larry McHugh nomination to remain as chairman of the University of Connecticut’s Board of Trustees passed its first legislative test Friday–but not without some questions about  his role in a few public embarrassments the university has faced in the last year.

“You were there,” said Rep. Linda Schofield, D-Simsbury, during the 90-minute questioning of McHugh at the State Capitol. “It’s about the management.”

Schofield and the members of the Executive and Legislative Nominations committee questioned McHugh about the high salaries of UConn’s two top police officials–$246,961 and $193,616, respectively–and other administrators, the school’s failure to win a $100 million federal grant to expand the health center, and the university’s rising costs, among other things.

“I feel blindsided,” said Rep. John E. Piscipo, R-Thomaston, told McHugh of some of the missteps.

McHugh apologized for the lack of oversight on the salaries of top officials.

“We are not happy with those salaries… I apologize that it happened,” he said. McHugh has set up an advisory board to review the salaries of the top UConn officials. “We are going to be benchmarking those salaries. We will continue to look at our salaries.”

McHugh’s nomination by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was approved unanimously by the committee and now heads to the state House of Representatives for final passage.

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