Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Poor Policy, Poor Management

In less than 48 hours, the group that will be the largest single source of stem cell research funding in the world -- $3 billion -- will meet to discuss a wide range of complex issues, including its budget and appointment of key officials.

But the public has no real idea what the Oversight Committee is considering. At the time of this posting, they only can see perfunctory statements listed on the web site of the California stem cell agency. The agenda for this Friday's meeting does not even indicate whether items will be voted on or merely discussed. "Consideration" is the term used, which can cover a multitude of possibilities.

Presumably the 29 members of the committee that is supposed to make decisions on the issues are also limited to what they can see ahead of the meeting. Some of the committee members have already expressed their displeasure at not having sufficient time to prepare for the meetings and review the issues. Rushed agendas and lack of advance background material have been a problem with the Oversight Committee since its inception.

Normal governmental procedures in California, including those of the lowliest school boards, provide for far more disclosure on subjects to be considered at public sessions than that offered by the stem cell agency.

Chairman Robert Klein has promised the highest standards in openness and transparency. That promise has not been fulfilled in terms of giving the public and Oversight Committee members adequate advance notice and material on the complex issues the panel considers each month.

It is simply poor management and poor policy to continue in this fashion. And it will continue to alienate unnecessarily Oversight Committee members that Klein needs support from.

For a more on this issue see the item “Consider This” on this blog on April 1. Sphere: Related Content

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