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California Stem Cell Agency Proposes Unjustified Increase in Top Salary Ranges
Date:2/19/2008

Agency's Counsel Already Received $65,000 Raise After 10 Months On Job, Topping State AG's Pay

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The California stem cell agency is proposing raising salary ranges for top employees a whopping 50 percent, an increase that is unjustified in the face of a state budget crisis, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) said today.

The proposal, to be considered by the stem cell agency's Governance Committee on Wednesday, comes after a $65,000, 41 percent, pay raise given to the agency's general counsel, Tamar Pachter, in December after 10 months on the job. With the increase Pachter now makes $225,000, more than state Attorney General Jerry Brown's annual salary of $184,301. Pachter was a state deputy attorney general when she was hired by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) last spring at a salary of $160,000.

"They are demonstrating a particularly tone-deaf action at a time when the state faces a serious budget crisis," said John M. Simpson, FTCR Stem Cell Project Director. "These salaries and proposed ranges are simply too high for an agency that when fully staffed will have a total of 50 employees. For comparison, the governor's salary is set at $212,179."

The Governance Committee is being asked to set the top salary range for the oversight committee chairman and the agency's president at $618,750, a 50 percent increase from the current top of $412,500. The new president, Alan Trounson, is being paid $490,000, an amount already above the current official range of $275,000 to $412,500. Chairman Robert Klein has declined to take a salary.

The proposal would increase the counsel's salary range from $150,000 to $225,000 to a new range of $150,000 to $337,500.

"CIRM doesn't operate with some financier's private stash of cash," said Simpson. "CIRM is a state agency funded by taxpayer dollars. It needs to act like one.
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SOURCE Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights
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