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New UC Davis Chancellor Faces Tough Questions Over Katehi's Hefty Teaching Salary

DAVIS (CBS13) - UC Davis swore in its seventh chancellor today. Gary S. May is a former engineering dean at the Institute of Technology in Georgia.

His swearing-in comes just a year after his predecessor, Linda Katehi, resigned amid ongoing ethical controversies.

He responded to new concerns that Katehi is staying on UC Davis' payroll as a highly paid professor.

"I'm a big believer in not only hearing all perspectives but letting my thought process and rationale be known to all," said May.

May marked his first day as the new UC Davis chancellor with a promise for transparency.

"I'm going to be myself," he said.

May, formerly a tech engineering Dean in Atlanta, enters UC Davis amid renewed controversy over his embattled predecessor Linda Katehi.

She'll reemerge in the fall semester as an engineering professor under a nine-month teaching contract, paying $318,000 -- not much less than the $424,000 annual salary she received as chancellor.

"I think Professor Katehi's salary as a member of the national academy of engineering, a scholar of her stature, is consistent with that stature," he said.

Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) oversees the UC budget and disagrees.

"This new arrangement, when you're getting a chancellor salary for part-time faculty work, it's a slap in the face for taxpayers and students struggling to pay college bills," he said.

McCarty called for Kathei's resignation last year after ethical violations, including paid board seats to using UC funds to erase negative online search results about the University. But it's her new pay that's triggering students' anger.

"Ridiculous...especially with tuition hikes," said one student.

"There's so much bad publicity already I didn't think she'd be paid so much," said another.

It's criticism the new chancellor would like to put behind him.

"I'm a big believer in going forward and turning the page and I don't want to spend a lot of time talking about some of those issues," said May.

For now, May says one of his focus points will be keeping down costs.

"We have to take a look at how we're spending taxpayer money," he said.

We reached out to Katehi for comment but have not heard back.

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