Friday, December 03, 2010

Klein's Re-nomination Almost Unnoted in Major Media

The hooha about CIRM Chairman Robert Klein and his maladroit attempts to manipulate the election of his successor generated little attention today in the mainstream media, but left an Internet legacy that may haunt the agency for some time.

Only three newspapers carried a story as far as we can tell: the San Francisco Business Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Sacramento Bee. The most complete story, however, appeared on Nature magazine's web site, which has a much narrower but important reach

In the Nature piece, Elie Dolgin wrote that Klein said he would not insist on the full $529,000 salary the chair is entitled to, but continue with the $150,000 he is currently receiving for the 12 months that he said he will serve.

Klein, who is a real estate investment banker, also indicated that he will insist on a top level scientist or clinician-scientist as a replacement to succeed him. Klein did not note that such a scientist would also by law be required to have “direct knowledge and experience in bond financing,” probably an extremely rare quality among scientists with national reputations.

Klein has had repeated difficulties in the past in hiring a president for the agency. CIRM also has not been able to hire a vice president for research and development despite a search that began nearly 18 months ago.

Any candidates for chair may find the agency's track record on hiring and management less than attractive, especially given Klein's latest unsuccessful attempt to engineer selection of a successor. Some cynics might wonder, however, whether Klein knew all along that Bernstein's Canadian citizenship would ultimately disqualify him and force the board into a position that would make Klein's re-nomination an apparent necessity. Few people know the law concerning the stem cell agency as well as Klein, who has more than once said he wrote Prop. 71, the measure that created CIRM.

Dolgin also reported that Art Torres, who has also been nominated for CIRM Chair, “probably” will not challenge Klein but is interested in staying on in his current co-vice chair slot.

Today's four stories are only part of what will pop up in the future as potential hires and journalists examine CIRM's performance. The coverage earlier in the week of the closed-door meetings and allegations of conflicts of interests will surface as well. CIRM would do well to keep in mind the admonition -- "If it can't stand the light of day, don't do it." Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:41 AM

    Sunday night dinners? Who paid for this dinner? The state of California? Why wasn't it done during business hours, pursuant to a published agenda? Who paid for the dinners for all of these people who participated in a dinner meeting without public notice, without including everyone on the CIRM hiring committee (or whatever it's called) if there is a committee at CIRM that is officially supposed to handle this transition?

    What right does Klein have to "insist on a top level scientist or clinician-scientist as a replacement to succeed him?" The original Prop 71 was written so narrowly as to shoe-horn in a candidate (turned out Klein got the job!), but now that Klein has previously and repeatedly stated he is leaving, is he actually being allowed to DICTATE that his replacement be a scientist or clinician-scientist? Under what authority? The law of the language of Prop 71? If not, what then? Does he own CIRM or do the people of California own it? Under what authority can Klein dictate or demand anything there?

    Last I read, Klein declined to show up for questioning at the Capital (years back, when they asked him to) about CIRM related business and I think I remember that he claimed (did he and if so, does he still claim this?) that he isn't a state employee. Now that it's time to install a successor, he wants to stay on instead and continue to make $150K per anum for 1/2 time work, he may or may not consider himself a State employee (even though he's earning $150,000 a year), and also now that it's time for him to get out he wants to dictate the credentials of who would be allowed to replace him (is this allowed under the law of Prop 71 because, you know, we always have to follow the law on this Prop 71)? And, surprise, surprise, by reading this blog it seems no one seems qualified to serve but Klein!

    How is this possible? Klein isn't a scientist, or a clinician. He holds no medical degree (unless he started medical school after he started with CIRM and if he did that, wow, what a feat!) If he (not the law pf Prop 71) requires a clinician or scientist replace him, and is allowed to demand this, shouldn't HE HIMSELF adhere to his own requirement of others and he be required to be one, too, to keep this job since, after all, the job simply can't be done without being one!? Maybe I have it wrong; can someone tell me if Sunday night dinners with only some of the people who are to collaborate on hiring someone at CIRM/discuss government business is normal, whether he considers himself a state employee, and if he holds any clinician or scientist designations/licenses?

    I am just truly baffled at how government and goverment spending is working here. Baffled.