Last week, as part of the agenda for the meeting Thursday of the directors Governance Subcommittee, the agency posted one of its regular reports on outside contracting. The category is the No. 2 operational expense for the agency at $2.7 million for the 2008-09 fiscal year.
CIRM Chairman Robert Klein and President Alan Trounson take justifiable pride in keeping expenses low -- well under the cap in Proposition 71.
That was one reason I asked questions about what appeared to be $69,200 for a 2009 calendar. How many were printed, why and so forth. But by the time, we were through, it seemed that the cost for each calendar could range from anywhere well under $50 to perhaps $100 or so. And the report on the outside contracts had been altered to remove any mention of the calendar as part of a $45,000 expense, which is now described only as image development, office art design and framing
We will probably never know what the correct cost of the calendar is. Don Gibbons, CIRM´s chief communications officer, has not even responded to my 5-day-old question about how many were printed. However, he did say that they went mainly to CIRM grantees and trainees, which number 448. An unspecified amount went to “constituents.”
Here are the calendar figures that triggered the original inquiry: $14,000 calendar printing to Fong and Fong, $10,200 calendar production to Reineck and Reineck, and then the $45,000 for “calendar” work by Abbott and Company.
On Feb. 25, I asked Gibbons about what was entailed in those contracts as part of other questions dealing with the outsourcing report.
“Calendar was short hand used by the contract office for a complex series of projects that resulted in high resolution stem cell images fit for printing (quite difficult) that were re-used for several projects, including the FLICKR site, backdrops for media interviews, an exposition banner, to provide to the media, and for framing to dress up the bare walls of our office (framing included in the budget), and yes, the calendar.”On Feb. 27, I asked him:
“Re the calendars, for what year were they printed? How many were printed? Were they given away or sold? To whom? How many does CIRM still have on hand?”Gibbons replied on Friday:
“I don’t work for the CSCR (this web site). All of your diving into minutia is a huge waste of tax payer resources. They are paying me to execute much more important and informative projects. The calendars were printed in December for the 2009 calendar year. Almost all were given away already (if you think I am going to the store room to count the actual number left over your are crazy). None were sold. Primary audience was the grantees and trainees to remind them 365 days a year where their funding comes from. All the various constituents who give use their time on working groups etc. received multiple copies. Each image is accompanied by a story about the science it represents. Short versions of those stories are the captions on the Flickr site.”
An earlier version of this item incorrectly gave the total as $65,200 instead of $69,200. The difference was in the Fong printing contract, which is for $14,000 instead of $10,000.