Tuesday, March 06, 2018

California Stem Cell Performance Audits and More: Public Has 16 Golden Opportunities to Weigh In

Californians throughout the state next week will have what appears to be a record number of opportunities to participate -- albeit remotely -- in one of the more important, regular public meetings involving the $3 billion state stem cell agency.

The occasion is the March 13 meeting of the governing board of what is known formally as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine or CIRM. The meetings of the CIRM governing board are the single most important public events that the agency holds.

The board has 29 members. Fifteen of those members will be participating remotely in next week's session, which means that the public can participate as well from those locations in addition to the physical site of the meeting at CIRM HQ in Oakland. The remote locations range from Fresno to La Jolla  and from Riverside to Elk Grove.

And if you are in New York City, you can weigh in from there as well. One of the agency directors will be hooked up from the Big Apple.

During the meeting, the board solicits public comment on each item under consideration plus general comments as well.

The top item on the agenda is the triennial performance audit of the agency, which in the past has
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reported checkered but improving results in the last two reports. Conflict of interest issues surfaced in the last audit(see below).  In 2012, the audit, required by state law, identified 27 areas where improvements were needed.

The actual audit for this year has not yet been posted on the CIRM web site but is likely to pop up any day now.  The audit, which is required by state law, cost the agency $230,000, bringing to $694,944 the total that the agency has spent on its three performance audits.

If you are interested in attending at the remote locations, check the addresses in advance. Sometimes not enough specificity is provided. But an email to info@cirm.ca.gov will provide full directions.

Here is a link to the 2017 CIRM request for a proposal to conduct the performance audit.

Below are excerpts and links to previous items on the two earlier performance reports. At the end is a comparison of performance audit findings to results from other studies of the agency.

SUNDAY, MAY 17, 2015

Conflict-of-Interest Failings Reported in Application Reviews at California Stem Cell Agency


Conflict-of-interest issues have dogged the $3 billion California stem cell agency since its inception, and they are surfacing once again this week in a report commissioned by the agency itself.

This time the matter is being brought up by Moss-Adams, LLP, of Seattle, a business consulting firm that is being paid $230,000 by the agency to conduct a "performance audit."

In a report to be discussed at a CIRM governing board meeting on Thursday, the firm said it discovered serious problems dealing with the reporting of the interests of the agency's blue-ribbon reviewers.

TUESDAY, MAY 19, 2015


California Stem Cell Audit: Praise for Mills but More Work Needed on IP, Conflicts of Interest

The California stem cell agency this week received good marks for changes made by its new president, but it is also being told that it needs to improve how it tracks potential royalties and how it prevents grant reviewer conflicts of interest.

SUNDAY, MAY 17, 2015


Conflict-of-Interest Failings Reported in Application Reviews at California Stem Cell Agency

Conflict-of-interest issues have dogged the $3 billion California stem cell agency since its inception, and they are surfacing once again this week in a report commissioned by the agency itself.

This time the matter is being brought up by Moss-Adams, LLP, of Seattle, a business consulting firm that is being paid $230,000 by the agency to conduct a "performance audit."

In a report to be discussed at a CIRM governing board meeting on Thursday, the firm said it discovered serious problems dealing with the reporting of the interests of the agency's blue-ribbon reviewers.

THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2012


CIRM Directors Pleased with Performance Audit Findings

The $3 billion California stem cell agency received a "very favorable" performance audit report compared to other government agencies, CIRM directors were told today.

Representatives of Moss Adams, which was paid $234,944 by CIRM for the study, made the comments during a presentation today to the agency's 29 directors. During their comments, CIRM executives and directors focused on the favorable aspects of the findings of the six-month study.

TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012


IP to Grant Oversight: Study Calls for Host of Improvements at California Stem Cell Agency


The $3 billion California stem cell agency is laboring under a range of problems that include protection of its intellectual property and management of its nearly 500 grants plus an inadequate ability to track its own performance, a seven-month study said yesterday.

The performance audit by the Moss Adams accounting firm of Seattle, Wash., made 27 recommendations for improvements, including more effort to ease strain connected to the agency's controversial dual executive arrangement. The study said that the nearly eight-year-old agency has many "opportunities" to "enhance performance reporting and decision making, strengthen effectiveness and efficiency, retain essential human resources and leverage technology."

In response to the report, the stem cell agency said, "(M)anagement concurs with the findings and recommendations....The recommendations are focused and constructive. CIRM is already implementing many of these recommendations, and we will be investigating the others in the coming months."
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Here is a link to the California state controller's comparison of the findings of the 2012 performance audit to previous findings from a number of enterprises ranging from the National Academy of Sciences to the state's Little Hoover Commission. 
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