Friday, July 11, 2014

Scripps CEO gets unanimous vote of no confidence from faculty; Reports $21 million deficit

The following two article offer some insight on internal conflicts that, with any hope, could tear the corporation apart before it destroys the Briger Forest for new labs for its profit-driven animal testing and genetic engineering research. Corruption and turmoil comes as no surprise from an operation whose previous CEO, Richard Lerner, was a scientists for the tobacco industry...

Scripps Faculty Call For Ouster Of CEO Michael Marletta

Scripps President and CEO Marletta
Credit: David Freeman/Scripps Research Institute
Proposed merger with USC angers researchers

United in dissent, faculty at biological research powerhouse Scripps Research Institute are reportedly calling for the resignation of the organization’s president and CEO, chemist Michael Marletta.

At issue is a June 16 announcement that Scripps is considering merging with or being acquired by the comparatively wealthy University of Southern California, in order to stabilize Scripps’ increasingly shaky financial outlook.

Scripps faculty have vehemently opposed this option. In a June 20 e-mail sent to Marletta and Scripps’ trustees board chair Richard A. Gephardt, 10 faculty department chairs and the dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies expressed “deepening concern for the future of our beloved institution.”

In the e-mail, faculty members say they are confident Scripps can and should remain independent. “We believe that the proposed path with USC would destroy much of what has been built and what we and others in the community value so much,” the group writes.

Marletta took over leadership of Scripps from longtime president and CEO Richard Lerner in January 2012. He is also a member of C&EN’s advisory board. Marletta served as chair of the chemistry department at the University of California, Berkeley, before moving to Scripps.

Scripps, a private research organization with campuses in San Diego and Jupiter, Fla., had a $398 million operating budget in 2012. It relies mostly on grants and, to a lesser, extent philanthropic donations for its funding. In 2013, 85% of its revenue came from the National Institutes of Health, according to credit rating agency Fitch Ratings.

But in recent years, competition for NIH funding has increased as the federal agency’s budget has stagnated. Meanwhile, Scripps is projecting a $21 million deficit for the current fiscal year ending Sept. 30. 

Scripps Project at Briger Forest: Enviros File Second Legal Challenge

Briger Forest in Palm Beach Gardens, threatened by Scripps

By Fire Ant, from New Times,

Palm Beach Gardens city leaders greenlighted the bulldozers early this month, cheering on the clearing of Briger Forest, the last major tract of undeveloped land along I-95 in Palm Beach County. Jobs! Progress! Townhomes!

But as night follows day, local environmental activists soon replied with a renewed assault on the developers' plans, pressing on with a challenge to the South Florida Water Management District's permits for the project.

See also: Scripps Florida Expansion Faces New Legal Roadblock, Environmental Challenge

Briger Forest, while not virgin, is relatively unspoiled. Straddling I-95 north of Palm Beach Gardens, covering almost 700 acres of land, it is a mix of hardwood forest, freshwater marshes, and prairie, an important locale for migrating birds. In addition to the Eastern Indigo Snake, an endangered species, it is home to the gopher tortoise, wood stork, snowy egret, and hand fern.
The developers' plans are tied to the local establishment's Ahab-like quest for the White Whale of bioscience dollars, the idea that public investment in projects like the Scripps Research Institute will ultimately bring a flood of money and jobs to the area.