Both a prominent Texas GOP lawmaker and Governor Rick Perry himself are suggesting that CPRIT oversight committee members who were with the organization prior to the Peloton debacle might serve CPRIT best by resigning.
CPRIT continues to endure increased pressure from both sides of the political spectrum in Texas, with new calls for the possible resignation of CPRIT executives from the organization’s current oversight committee who were present during the missteps that led to the current funding freeze, investigation, and sweeping reform efforts. Texas Republican Representative Charles Perry of Lubbock has called into question whether CPRIT, in spite of serious efforts on the part of the Texas legislature to signifcantly revamp the way it operates, can ever regain trust from the government and taxpayers alike until veteran CPRIT executives resign:
“How can we expect the public trust to be reaffirmed if we leave people that are on the old board in the new board that either didn’t catch it, didn’t notice it, or knew about it and didn’t do anything about it?”
Similarly, Governor Perry has also singled out the missteps of remaining CPRIT executives who were present prior to the Peloton exposé, remarking candidly to CPRIT chairman Jimmy Mansour, “If you take on the role as a chairman and you say, `I am the leader,’ unfortunately that comes with a lot of good and a lot of bad. And to maintain that role going forward, I don’t know how we will ever rebuild trust.”
Mr. Mansour has stated that he has no plans to resign his post on the CPRIT oversight committee, arguing that, because the problems at CPRIT centered around the review of grant proposals, which oversight committee members were not supposed to be involved in, he and other veteran members were not culpable for issues such as the Peloton case.
Governor Perry, however, did not appear to accept Mr. Mansour’s explanation, responding that, “The question should have been, ‘Did this go through peer review?’ Did anybody ask that on the oversight board?”
In spite of the waning weeks remaining in the Texas legislature’s schedule and the need to resolve the CPRIT crisis soon in order to re-establish operations, questions continue to mount as to whether or not CPRIT can in fact be reconstituted into an effective cancer research funding agency, with Governor Perry now suggesting that perhaps public higher education institutions should take over the management of CPRIT. With so much still in flux for CPRIT, and so little time to solve the crisis, it is looking increasingly unlikely that the matter could be resolved this year, if at all.