Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CIRM Board Approves $150,000 Salary for Chairman Klein

The board of the California stem cell agency today approved a $150,000, half-time salary for its chairman, Robert Klein, who has served in that position for four years, working without pay.

Board members said that it was impossible to compensate Klein sufficiently for his contributions to the agency. They said the salary was based on what they believed was dictated by the nature of the position – not the individual.

The salary was approved on a unanimous voice vote by the board, which gave Klein a standing ovation prior to approving the salary.

The CIRM pay range provides for a salary as high as half-million dollars annually for the chairman. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last week expressed "deep concern" about reports concerning the salary.

Klein, who owns a real estate investment banking firm, has said he can no longer afford to donate his time.

The only critical voice on the salary came from a member of the public, patient advocate Don Reed, who said it was not nearly enough.

CIRM board member Claire Pomeroy, dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine, said the decision on Klein's salary was not related to a vacancy in the vice chairmanship position. That position is entitled to a salary as high as $332,000.

Two candidates for the job have been nominated -- Duane Roth, who will not accept a salary, and Art Torres, who needs one. That position will not come up until next month at the earliest.

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