Bob Klein To Leave CIRM Chairman Job

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Bob Klein, the architect of California’s $3 billion stem cell
research funding program, will not seek a new term as chairman of the

Klein’s six-year term expires at the end of 2010.

Klein made the announcement at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine’s
finance subcommittee meeting today, reported the California Stem Cell
Report blog. It cited a blog item written by John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog, which tracks CIRM spending and policies.

Klein has been under fire nearly since the day he proposed the
state-bond supported plan to fund stem cell research. The Proposition
71 initiative was approved by California voters in 2004.

Most recently, he asked for a salary for his duties as chairman,
winning $150,000 in December for half-time work. The salary was
criticized by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and others for coming at a
time when the state is running a multibillion-dollar budget deficit.

Those financial difficulties put a halt on state bond sales that fund CIRM and other state agencies.

Also, a staff report from the Little Hoover Commission, which
studies the effectiveness of state government, last month recommended
that CIRM eliminate salaries for its chairman and vice chairman and
reduce its oversight board from 29 members to 15, among other
suggestions. The report, which could be approved by the commission at a
June 25 meeting, also recommended that CIRM develop a transition plan
for the chairman job.

On a personal front, Klein’s wife is undergoing treatment for breast
cancer and his mother, who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease, died
last month.

Klein has said that his son, who has type 1 diabetes, and mother
served as inspiration for launching the stem cell initiative after
President Bush restricted stem cell lines available for research in
August 2001.

Consumer Watchdog
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