Massachusetts’ Gov. Mitt Romney’s ongoing effort to turn Massachusetts into Mississippi has entered a new phase: embryonic stem cell research. In Romney’s last-ditch desperate attempt to buff up his Republican credentials, he has appointed a budget planner to be executive director of a board overseeing state funding for stem cell research. From the AP:
Aaron D’Elia, a 35-year-old assistant secretary in the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, was approved Thursday by the board by a 4-1 margin to head the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. The post pays $125,000 annually.
University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson voted against the appointment, saying it was made without a search.
D’Elia has no medical or science training or experience, but that doesn’t seem to faze him:
D’Elia’s views on stem cell research are similar to Romney’s. He said he supports the use of stem cells created from embryos left over from fertility treatments, but opposes cloning embryos.
He thinks he’s qualified for the job because of his background in economic development, even though he has no science background.
“I’m comfortable about what I bring to the table,” said D’Elia, 35, a Republican, who made $105,000 this year. “I’m going to be very open to working with Gov. Patrick, and I hope he’s open to working with me.”
Yep, it’s just like economic development, except that it’s science and medicine. But why let knowledge of the subject at hand be a criterion for employment? But I’ve come to expect this sort of crass manipulation by Romney. What bothers me nearly as much is the job itself, which is to oversee and provide funding for stem cell research in Massachusetts with a salary of $125,000 per year.
That seems a little high for the job description. In my work, I oversee and fund research as one small part of my job. It’s just not that taxing, particularly if you have an assistant who does a lot of the administrative work (e.g., setting up meetings, making sure a lot of the bureaucratic minutae are attended to, etc.). While Boston is a biotechnology hub–perhaps the biotechnology hub, there just isn’t that much stem cell research that will take place. How much decision making and oversight can there actually be? For this someone gets paid $125,000?
I’m not being churlish: how can I get one of those jobs? Hell, I would be willing to do it for $100,000 per year….
Yeah, but would you also toe the party line? I’m sure the $125K salary is at least partly a pay-off for continued service to their shared cause.
Only if they throw in a good dental plan…