Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Klein and Sheehy Tangle Over Lucrative CIRM Contract with Former CIRM Director

Should a former director of the California stem cell agency be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the agency after he leaves the board?

That was the essential question at a meeting last week of the CIRM Governance Subcommittee, which is a subset of the 29-member board of directors.

John M. Simpson, stem cell project director for Consumer Watchdog of Santa Monica, Ca., wrote about the session on his organization's blog in an item headlined, "Tempers flare at stem cell subcommittee meeting."

Simpson alluded to the "old boys network" at CIRM and wrote,
"Stem Cell Board Chairman Bob Klein and member Jeff Sheehy clashed heatedly over a former board member's highly paid consultancy to the state agency at a recent  meeting of the Governance Subcommittee.

"I lit the spark on Friday when I asked what Dr. Richard Murphy was doing under the description of "Strategic Consulting" for a fee $155,000 from April 15 through Dec. 31.  Was he revising the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) strategic plan?  That was a large part of it, President Alan Trounson said."
Simpson also wrote:
"'You don't like Dr. Murphy,' Klein told Sheehy. 'Let's stick to the mission.'

Sheehy said that 'he deeply resented' the suggestion his concern stemmed from 'personal animus.'  

"'We need a more open process,' he said."
Murphy served as interim president of CIRM last year and part of this year under a $300,000, six-month contract. The consulting contract followed.

In another item, Simpson also discussed the proposal by the Governance Subcommittee to deal with CIRM's longstanding difficulties in securing quorums necessary to do business legally. Ironically, the subcommittee meeting itself did not have a quorum. Sphere: Related Content

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