Big Bucks Become Bigger at CIRM

Posted by Jesse Reynolds February 19, 2008
Biopolitical Times

While publicly funded with taxpayer dollars, the California stem cell research agency is exempt from many of the norms of state governance. One example is that it sets the salaries of its employees on its own, instead of using the civil service pay scale. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine drew criticism early on when it disclosed that its staff salaries would range from $125,000 to $400,000 annually. As a reference point, the state's governor is offered $175,000. Now, the CIRM's leadership is looking to up those numbers, with the top end reaching $620,000.

For now, this is a range of possible salaries, and not yet actual paychecks. But given the lack of accountability to voters or their representatives, there's little doubt that salaries will catch up with these potential ranges.

Given the dire condition of the state's budget and the recent pay scandal at the University of California, this move will only attract more criticism for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. If the compensation sums skyrocket according to the CIRM's plan, calls for its termination, such as the recent editorial in Investor's Business Daily, would likely grow more common.

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