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CA stem cell agency’s top salaries stand out on state roster

Los Angeles Times, July 6, 2011

California's stem cell research agency says it needs billions more taxpayer dollars to deliver on promised cures to major diseases. Yet at a time when other departments are cutting back spending, the agency recently agreed to pay its new boss one of the highest salaries in state government. The 50-person grant-making body will pay a Los Angeles investment banker $400,000 to serve as its new part-time board chairman, pushing the combined salaries of its two top officials to nearly $1 million per year. Santa Monica-based Saybrook Capital founder Jonathan Thomas — chosen over a former cardiologist who was willing to take the job for less than half the salary — said his pay is "reasonable" because he has the background to help the agency raise the money it needs to survive. "Without funding, everything else suffers," Thomas said.