Tuesday, January 08, 2008

CIRM's Perspective on Staffing in Klein's Office

Robert Klein, the chairman of the $3 billion California stem cell agency, has taken issue with our piece on Friday entitled "CIRM's Klein Beefs Up Staff."

Ellen Rose, interim chief communications officer for the agency, sent along the following perspective today from agency after we discussed last Friday's item with both her and Klein on Monday.
"As you know, the board approved a new organizational chart in December that includes an increase from 4 to 8 people in the Office of the Chair and Vice-chair. We realized that it is not feasible to accomplish all of the responsibilities of the Office as outlined in Prop. 71 with just 3-4 people.

"During the next 1 to 2 years, CIRM will undertake two major, first-of -their kind funding programs - the Biotech Loan Program and the tax exemption status for the bonds - that involve up to $2 billion in value. Clearly, these are hugely complex and important funding programs and having the appropriate staffing and expertise in the Office of the Chair, which is tasked with their management, is necessary for successful development and execution of these programs. In addition, the Office of the Chair is responsible for intellectual property negotiation in the contracts for the Biotech Loan Program.

"The other increase in headcount is because Government Affairs has been transitioned back into the Office of the Chair. Prop. 71 calls for this function to reside there as part of the Chair's overall responsibility around interaction and education with government (CA Legislature, US Congress, and others), healthcare providers, the public, disease advocacy groups, and other key constituencies.

"Finally, as I mentioned yesterday, we will also increase the administrative help in the Office of the Chair because we want to facilitate more timely dissemination of materials to the public."
For those interested in reading more on this subject, here are some pertinent links:

Our item last year on the cutbacks in the chairman's office.

The old management structure presented to the Oversight Committee last March, which stipulated no more than four staffers in the office of the chair, which includes the vice chair.

The new management structure approved last month, which raised the number of staff from four to eight.
The organizational chart approved last month.

(An earlier version of this item incorrectly stated that the increase in the staff in the chairman's office was from four to 12 persons.)

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