Now that the CPRIT scandal has passed, the Texas biotech community is likely to see fewer reports on the organization’s relaunch and funding operations. However, for cancer researchers, cancer treatment developers, and healthcare practitioners working toward cancer prevention and awareness, the stir in activity is big news throughout the state of Texas.
This week alone, CPRIT has announced a new round of funding for much-needed cancer prevention initiatives — joining last week’s announcement from Texas A&M that it had received research funding promised to them late last year — and has also installed the final member of the CPRIT Oversight committee. Adding to the list of new CPRIT executive staff is David Reisman, who will serve as the agency’s chief compliance officer (CCO) — a critically important role in the wake of the scandal which led to a major overhaul of how CPRIT conducts grant reviews and operations.
Reisman brings with him a skill-set that is well suited for the new CCO position, having served previously as executive director of the Texas Ethics Commission. His role there was similar to the one he’ll take on at CPRIT: at the Texas Ethics Commission, he enforced campaign finance, lobby and conflict of interest laws for the state.
Read other articles about CPRIT:
[feed url=”http://bionews-tx.com/news/news-tags/cprit/feed” number=”5″ ]
In his new role as CPRIT CCO, Reisman will primarily oversee the grant award process, ensuring that grants follow the strict, new rules but in place by the Texas legislature’s CPRIT reform package, and signed into law by Governor Rick Perry. According to a CPRIT press release, the CCO will “evaluate grant award policies and procedures, certify the grant review process, document grant review panel compliance, and monitor grant recipients’ compliance with grant contracts, among other responsibilities,” indicating that Reisman will have hands-on participation in the grant process for all new cancer research and prevention grants.
Wayne Roberts, the chief executive officer of CPRIT, was quick to point out that the CCO appointment is the lynchpin of the rebooted CPRIT: “The chief compliance officer plays a critical role in CPRIT’s operations – finding a qualified, dedicated individual to fill the position was key, and we’re pleased to have Mr. Reisman join the agency,” adding, “His unique experience and skills will serve CPRIT well as we continue to strengthen processes and increase accountability.”
All indications are that Mr. Reisman’s previous work experience make him an obvious candidate for the role. As the CPRIT press release points out, “prior to his position with the Texas Ethics Commission, Reisman worked for the United States Department of the Army providing legal advice and assistance on ethics and fiscal issues and served as senior fiscal advisor for the Budget, Planning and Policy Division of the Texas governor’s office. Before moving to Texas, he practiced law in Kentucky and held the position of policy and budget advisor for the Kentucky governor’s Office of Policy and Management. Reisman earned his Juris Doctorate and Master of Public Administration from the University of Kentucky, and his Bachelor of Arts in Government from West Virginia Wesleyan College.”
More than just a bureaucrat, Mr. Reisman also appears to be passionate about the critical importance of governing bodies following rules and ethics toward a more stable, functional government. Just this month, he penned an editorial for the El Paso Times, heralding the launch of the first-ever Texas Ethics Commission Training Symposium, which took place in El Paso on Nov. 14th. In his well-articulated article, Mr. Reisman took inspiration from President John F. Kennedy, remarking:
President John F. Kennedy once said, “(T)he basis of effective government is public confidence, and that confidence is endangered when ethical standards falter or appear to falter.” It is in fact the mission of the Texas Ethics Commission to promote public confidence in government. This is achieved through the administration and enforcement of laws prohibiting the acceptance of money and gifts with the intent to influence; the reporting of financial holdings to shine a light on any conflicts of interest; and the reporting of contributions and expenditures by candidates, officeholders, and lobbyists to allow the public to see who makes the contributions and where and how those dollars are spent.
This kind of inspired governance is precisely what CPRIT will need in order to continue its critically important work of funding the next generation of cancer treatments, prevention methods, and ultimately a cure.
Photo of Mr. Reisman from the El Paso Times