Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chair of Stem Cell Agency Likely to Remain Part-time Position

A key group of directors of the $3 billion California stem cell agency today recommended criteria for a new chair of the research effort, including a proposal that the position remain part-time.

Don Gibbons, chief communications officer for CIRM, said in an email that the salary range would remain unchanged under the proposals approved by the directors' Governance Subcommittee, with a top of $500,000 and a bottom of the $275,000. That would translate to $137,500 to $400,000 on a 50 percent to 80 percent work basis, as recommended by the panel.

The top attributes identified by the subcommittee are in the categories of "collaborative/consensus builder, leadership/vision, knowledgable/intellectually curious." The top desired skill sets are "advocacy, leadership/vision, scientific expertise/knowledge (defined as understanding), governance expertise/knowledge," Gibbons said.

The criteria were recommended following a survey of the 29 CIRM directors. Twenty directors and alternates responded.

Gibbons said the subcommittee "agreed to postpone a recommendation on the allocation of responsibility between the chair, vice chair and president until legal staff drafts further language for posting and distribution prior to another subcommittee meeting."

Prop. 71 legally dictates overlapping responsibilities between the chair and president, which have been a source of friction at the agency. The state's good government agency, the Little Hoover Commission, has recommended changes to ensure greater accountability and more effective management at the agency.

The recommendations could be considered by the board as early as its March meeting. CIRM Chairman Robert Klein is scheduled to leave in June. Klein just yesterday presented directors with a 9-page rundown on his "routine" activities that ranged from travel policies to economic impact reports to reviewing each request by the public for public records from the agency.

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