Wednesday, December 17, 2008

CIRM Directors To Define Vice Chair Job and Executive Evaluation Process

Directors of the $3 billion California stem cell agency expect to add some finishing details next week to employment arrangements with its chairman, Robert Klein, along with those of the vice chairman and the president.

On Monday, the directors' Governance Subcommittee, chaired by former Hollywood studio executive Sherry Lansing, will consider how they intend to evaluate the performance of Klein, CIRM President Alan Trounson and whomever fills the now-vacant vice chairmanship of the board of directors.

Last week, the board decided the position of chairman is a halftime job and agreed to pay Klein $150,000 a year. Klein, a multimillionaire real estate investment banker, said current economic conditions had compelled him to seek a salary. Klein had worked for free during the last four years.

At its meeting at UC Irvine last week, the CIRM board deftly sidestepped potentially negative fallout from from the pay matter. The issue had become somewhat charged after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed "deep concern" concerning the salary reports.

Under CIRM's salary ranges, if Klein were to serve fulltime, he would be entitled to as much as half-a-million dollars-a-year, which could raise PR and policy issues at a time when California is facing an economic crisis.

In an interview Tuesday, Lansing said Klein is entitled to fringe benefits provided to all state employees but that he will not receive performance awards or merit pay under the compensation plan for CIRM employees.

Actions next week on the vice chairman's position could also help to determine who is likely to fill that slot. Next year, CIRM directors will choose a vice chairman between two candidates: Art Torres(left photo), currently head of the state Democratic Party, and Duane Roth(right photo), who currently serves on the CIRM board and is head of Connect, a San Diego businesses development organization with close ties to the life science industry.

Lansing said that the subcommittee will discuss duties of the vice chairman and what his responsibilities are likely to involve. One question that may come up is whether the board should approve a salary for the job. CIRM salary ranges provide for $180,000 to $332,000 for the position.

Roth says he will not seek compensation as vice chairman. Torres says he will need a salary.

Teleconference locations for the meeting where the public can sit in and comment are available throughout the state: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Stanford, Sacramento, La Jolla and Irvine. The specific addresses can be found on the agenda. They may change or increase before the Monday meeting so it is good to check in advance.

1 comment:

  1. David,

    As I mentioned to you before, Senator Torres has stated that he will accept the decision of the Governance Committee and ICOC as it relates to salary and scope of work. He is interested in this post because he wants to serve the public, CIRM's mission, and to get back to his first passion - policy. He's not doing this for a salary. Framing the issue as a "salary v. non-salary" makes for good print, but does not really capture what's going on. In the future, I ask that your posts accurately reflect everyone's position. Thanks,

    David Serrano Sewell


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