Saturday, April 02, 2011

Sacramento Bee Whacks Pay Plan for New CIRM Chair

In case you missed it, The Sacramento Bee editorialized last week about the $3 billion California stem cell agency, deploring its much-criticized, dual-CEO structure and the possibility of a $400,000 salary for a new, part-time chairman.

The March 28 editorial also caught the eye of Wesley J. Smith, a bioethicist who doesn't have much truck with the state's stem cell research program. He wrote on his blog,
"It isn’t the management structure that is so wrong about the CIRM.  It is the whole cronyism/conflicts of interest/arrogant thing.  California can’t afford the CIRM’s borrow and spend mandate when our infrastructure is collapsing and our state sinking to the bottom of a red ink Marianas Trench."
The Bee's editorial pointed to the proposal (first reported on the California Stem Cell Report March 23) by outgoing CIRM Chairman Robert Klein, a real estate investment banker, Art Torres, co-vice chairman of the CIRM and former state legislator, and Ted Love, a biotech industry executive and vice chair of CIRM's Evaluation Subcommittee, to use "private" donor funds to pay a portion of the new chairman's salary. The Bee said,
"Nonsense. It’s all public money. That board does not need a part-time chair with that kind of salary. The board should nix it at the next meeting. Having a single agency with two CEO-level salaries is craziness at any time, but especially during a deep economic downturn. The Legislature should realign the roles of board chair and agency president before this goes too far. Make it crystal clear that the full-time president manages all day-to-day operations – and that the board chair is a part-time oversight role."
The good news for CIRM in the editorial is that it drew only nine comments from readers on The Bee's Web site. All were negative about CIRM, however.

(Editor's note: an earlier version of this item incorrectly said that Ted Love was chair of the Evaluation Subcommittee.) Sphere: Related Content


  1. Anonymous6:23 PM

    2 CEO level salaries "is craziness" and "all [9 comments] were negative" is interesting indeed.

    Good reporting Sac Bee and California Stem Cell Report.

  2. Anonymous11:40 PM

    I would like to point out that President Obama gets a $400,000 for being President of the United States, and some might say the leader of the "free world," a much more challenging position than the chairmanship of a single state agency, even though they are trying to compete with jobs and salaries in the private sector.