The Houston Chronicle and other Texas news outlets are reporting that the CPRIT Governing board is to be officially dissolved. In a move by the Executive branch of the Texas State government, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will relieve the current members of their duties, including the current Chairman Jimmy Mansour, Vice Chairman Dr. Joseph Bailes and executive committee member Charles Tate. New members will not be reappointed, but instead will see their previous roles subsumed into the new CPRIT organizational structure, which was established by the recent passage and signing of SB 149.
The news of the dissolution of the Governing board should not come as a surprise, as it has been reported for some time that replacing the veteran members of the Governing board who served during the 2012 term was a key factor in the new reform legislation. While then-executive director Bill Gimson resides months ago, Mansour, Bailes, and Tate have remained on the board and have attempts to contribute to the organization’s reform efforts, in spite of calls for their resignation.
New CPRIT oversight and organizational structures are designed to help increase transparency throughout the grant process, establish higher levels of accountability, and ensure proper peer review. There has also been an attempt to distribute the balance of power among CPRIT’s top decision-makers, including the replacement of the executive director role with a state-appointed governing panel. Now that CPRIT has been fully funded and approved to begin providing cancer research funding once more, the new approach to governance and oversight will now have a chance to demonstrate whether or not the new reform efforts will bear more favorable results in appropriating taxpayer dollars for cancer research and prevention.