Board Sets Chairman’s Salary at $150,000

Published on

Klein, the multimillionaire real estate developer who was key to
writing the state’s stem cell initiative, will receive an annual salary
of $150,000, the stem cell institute’s board decided yesterday.

Klein has served as chairman for three years without accepting a salary for
his more than 40-hour workweeks for the California Institute for
Regenerative Medicine. He said market conditions have made it necessary
for him to request a salary.

Board members said they could never
reimburse Klein for all his work for the stem cell institute, but they
had to put that all aside when determining his salary. They said
$150,000 was appropriate for the position, which they consider to be a
part-time job.

There had been much discussion about what the
board would pay Klein. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sent a letter to the
board Friday expressing concern that it keep the salary of the chairman
and vice chairman, a job that was recently vacated by someone who also
declined a salary for three years, to the minimum needed to get the job

Schwarzenegger is dealing with a potential $28 billion
deficit. Legislation has been introduced to freeze all state salaries
above $150,000. The stem cell institute has autonomy because it was
created by Proposition 71, the $3 billion stem cell initiative approved
by voters in November 2004.

Some of the public advocates who
watch the board had been worried about the chairman’s salary because it
is on the same pay scale as the institute president, Alan Trounson, who
receives $490,000.

The board’s governance committee, which
included Sherry Lansing, Duane Roth and Claire Pomeroy, has been
discussing Klein’s salary for several weeks. Yesterday, it presented
its recommendation to the full board, which approved it unanimously.

so many state leaders, it is impossible to compensate you for what you
have done for this state,” said Roth, who runs Connect, a San Diego
organization that helps startup technology companies. “So we set aside
what you have done and discussed what the compensation should be for
the duties outlined in Proposition 71.”

Klein, who first became
impassioned about the promise of stem cell research because his son has
Type 1 diabetes and his mother has advanced Alzheimer’s disease, showed
no disappointment.

“It’s been a great privilege to serve this
group and its mission,” said Klein, who donated millions of dollars to
the Proposition 71 campaign in 2004.

“We continue to have some
extremely difficult challenges before us, but we have some extremely
difficult challenges behind us,’ ” he said, smiling at the board

John Simpson, of the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog in
Santa Monica, had proposed Klein’s salary be capped at $200,000, about
the same amount paid to the head of the National Institutes of Health.

(board) took a tremendously important clarifying step today… by
making it very clear the chairman’s role is a half-time job,” Simpson
said. “That’s as it should be.”

Don Reed, who runs a patient
advocacy foundation for people with spinal cord injuries, was critical
of the pay, saying “$150,000 is not very much money and I don’t think
it anywhere approaches the amount required by the chair.”

board said it would set the salary of the vice chairman at its meeting
in January. Schwarzenegger has nominated Roth for the position. Roth
has said he would not accept a salary.

State Treasurer Bill
Lockyer and Controller John Chiang have nominated state Democratic
Party chairman Art Torres for the job. Lt. Governor John Garamendi also
is expected to nominate Torres, who has said he would need a salary.
The top of the pay range for the job is $332,000.

The board selects a vice chairman from candidates nominated by the state constitutional officers.

Contact the author, Terri Somers, at: (619) 293-2028 or [email protected]

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
Providing an effective voice for American consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Non-partisan.

Latest Videos

Latest Releases

In The News

Latest Report

Support Consumer Watchdog

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news, press releases and special reports.

More Releases