When I think about the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, what words come to mind? Well, there’s “arrogance.” “Hubris” also works. “Mismanagement” is on all fours, as we say in the law. “Spendthrift.” “Hype.” “Unaccountable.” I could go on and on.
But let’s get back to spendthrift. The state is sinking financially. Cutbacks are being forced across the board. But not at the CIRM. From the LA Times story:
California’s stem cell research agency says it needs billions more taxpayer dollars to deliver on promised cures to major diseases. Yet at a time when other departments are cutting back spending, the agency recently agreed to pay its new boss one of the highest salaries in state government. The 50-person grant-making body will pay a Los Angeles investment banker $400,000 to serve as its new part-time board chairman, pushing the combined salaries of its two top officials to nearly $1 million per year.
Hey, I’ll do it for $200,000. Here’s some perspective:
With his $400,008 salary, Thomas joins institute President Alan Trounson who made $490,008 last year high on the list of the state’s top paid, non-university employees...Ex-state senator and former Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres, who was hired in 2009 [also part time] to help defend against some of the political criticism, makes $230,000 per year as one of the institute’s vice chairmen. By contrast, Gov. Jerry Brown makes $173,048. The director of the National Institutes of Health, which employs more than 17,000 people and invests $32.5 billion in medical research each year, makes $199,700.
These people live in a different world of “entitlement” (there’s another word) and “luxury.” This is just another reason for the people of California to turn off the borrowing money spigot in 2014.