Saturday, June 12, 2010

Budget Contretemps: CIRM Takes Another Run at Spending Plan

The California stem cell agency has rescheduled for June 21 consideration of its budget for the fiscal year that begins in July.

CIRM cancelled an earlier meeting scheduled for Thursday after it failed to post publicly the budget documents on its web site, a perennial problem with important information needed for CIRM meetings. The Thursday meeting was scrubbed after the California Stem Cell Report on Tuesday published an item headlined, “CIRM Stiffs Public on Spending Plan.” Documents were also not available for the June 21 meeting at the time of this writing.

In a comment filed yesterday with the California Stem Cell Report, Don Gibbons, CIRM's chief communications officer, said the budget documents were submitted to CIRM Chairman Robert Klein five days ago. It was not clear whether those documents were being revised. We queried Gibbons this morning concerning the missing information for the public.

A CIRM insider said that it is “a bit alarming” that CIRM failed to provide the budget information to both the public and directors for the Thursday budget meeting of the Finance Subcommittee. The source said that the same problem occurred last year, and the staff promised to distribute the information in a timely fashion. The insider said the issue reflected poorly on the stem cell agency. (The full text of the source's remarks can be found here.)

California's state Constitution provides the public with a broadly construed right to state government information.

CIRM's Gibbons has not responded to our request Wednesday for an explanation for cancellation of Thursday's budget meeting.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:12 AM

    To followup on the text --California's state Constitution provides the public with a broadly construed right to state government information. --, in 1967 the California state legislature passed the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, which implements the provision of the California Constitution which declares that "the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies shall be open to public scrutiny", and explicitly mandates open meetings for California State agencies, boards, and commissions.

    In New Jersey, as to disclosure relevant to medical patients, there is the NJHCCIA , which requires the Division of Consumer Affairs to create profiles for all licensed physicians and podiatrists in New Jersey and to make these profiles available to the public, both by electronic and other means. Id. section 45:9-22.22(a). The NJHCCIA provides for the disclosure of medical malpractice judgments and settlements as part of each practitioner's profile, although doctors who make settlements pursue creative attempts to avoid or minimize public disclosure.


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