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State's Good Government Agency Calls for Reforms at Stem Cell Agency
Date:6/26/2009

Key 'Little Hoover' Recommendations Follow Consumer Watchdog's Proposals

SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California's good government agency, The Little Hoover Commission, today called for management and structural reforms at the state stem cell agency after an eight-month study. Key Commission recommendations follow many proposals made by Consumer Watchdog in testimony to the panel last November.

The Commission said the oversight board for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) should be restructured around "principles of efficiency and transparency." It recommended reducing the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC) from 29 members to 15 and clarifying the roles of the chairman and president.

"This is a thoughtful and thorough analysis from a bipartisan group with no ax to grind. CIRM's management and board should listen to its advice," said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's Stem Cell Project Director. "Once again, the agency is circling the wagons in defense and wasting taxpayer money. Instead of worrying about the Little Hoover Commission Report, the ICOC should be asking why the chief science officer, Dr. Marie Csete, is resigning after a little more than a year on the job."

The Commission said two of the reduced board's members should be independent business leaders and two should be independent scientists with no ties to CIRM-funded institutions. Five would be patient advocates; two would come from the University of California; one from a non-UC university; two from biotechnology companies and one from a California research institution. It would simply call the oversight body the Board of Directors.

"The ICOC is too large and cumbersome, has had difficulty in mustering a quorum and suffers from built-in conflicts," said Simpson. "The Commission's recommendations go along way toward fixing that."


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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
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