Saturday, December 03, 2005

Tight Budget, Hiring Freeze for CIRM

The California stem cell agency is preparing a budget for the next seven months that includes a hiring freeze and no funds for the already approved multimillion dollar training grant program.

The $5.4 million spending plan, prepared by CIRM staff, is up for consideration this coming week by the Governance Subcommittee and by the full Oversight Committee.

The proposed budget is for 2005-2006 and compares to $3.9 million in spending for 2004-2005, which actually only covered about seven months while CIRM was just coming into existence.

The proposal calls for a cap on the existing staff level at 19 persons. Salaries and benefits are the single biggest item at $2.4 million. Contracts with outside agencies or businesses consume $1.3 million. Meetings and conferences are budgeted at $626,000($260,000 for working groups, $196,000 for the Oversight Committee and subcommittees and $170,000 for CIRM-sponsored scientific meetings and conferences).

The budget documents (see them here and here) contain no information on the status of efforts to sell bond anticipation notes to finance the $38 million training grant program.

The documents can only be found on the agenda for Oversight Committee meeting Tuesday. Although the Governance Subcommittee is scheduled consider them a day earlier, they were not available on the Web at the time this item was posted.

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