Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Staff Turnover at CIRM

Two "veteran" staffers of the California stem cell agency are leaving the agency. We place "veteran" in quotes because both have been in place for only a little more than year, but that does make them relatively long term employees in an organization that still has not reached its second birthday.

One of them is Walter Barnes, chief administrative officer, and the other is Nicole Pagano, who has served as the spokeswoman for CIRM.

Barnes initially was on loan from the state controller's office to CIRM as it struggled in January 2005 to set up procedures and to learn the ropes of being a state agency. Barnes plans to leave CIRM in mid-September.

CIRM President Zach Hall described Barnes as "invaluable and superb."
"He's been an incredible link to the state government. He's advised us all in the ways, arcane ways, of being a state agency in government, and so we are going to miss him," Hall said.
Hall's comments came at the May 19 meeting of the Governance Subcommittee when news of Barnes departure slipped out.

Barnes said,
"This is a major, major jewel in my crown as I get ready to retire. I can't think of any way I would have preferred to spend my last years."
Pagano's departure also slipped out. Stem cell chairman Robert Klein said Pagano has done a "fabulous job."

John M. Simpson, stem cell project director for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumers Right and a once a newspaper editor, told the subcommittee,
"She's been a wonderful press person to work with. I'm a former journalist, and you often don't run across talented and capable professionals in that side of things. She's been outstanding, and we're going to miss her."
No replacements have been announced.

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