Sunday, June 06, 2010

CIRM Directors Judge Klein's Performance This Week

Directors of the California stem cell agency on Thursday will formally evaluate the performance of its chairman, Robert Klein, for the first time in five years.

Klein has headed the $3 billion agency since its inception, on a vote of its 29-member board of directors in December 2004. Initially, Klein, a wealthy Palo Alto real estate investment banker, took no salary and testified in court that he did not consider himself a state employee. However, he asked for compensation in 2008. The board agreed to give him $150,000 annually for what it defined as a half-time job.

Earlier this year, the directors' Evaluation Subcommittee held its first meeting to come up with procedures for evaluating Klein, the two vice chairmen,(Art Torres and Duane Roth) and CIRM President Alan Trounson. The transcript of that session can be found here.

While Klein has not had a formal evaluation during his tenure, directors discussed his performance  during the closed-door session in which they set his salary. Publicly, directors are generally effusive in their praise of Klein. Privately, some are not entirely happy. But it is clear that Klein has been the dominant force – which is probably an understatement – at CIRM since 2004.

Thursday's two-hour Evaluation teleconference meeting will begin with a public session, but is expected to promptly go into a closed-door session to deal with personnel matters(Klein's evaluation), a normal procedure permitted under state law. Following the executive session, the subcommittee is expected to reconvene and report any action that may have been taken.

Klein is a member of the Evaluation Subcommittee but is expected to recused from deliberations involving him.

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