Archive for Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New bioscience chief concedes past problems at agency

February 5, 2013


— The new leader of the Kansas Bioscience Authority said Tuesday that the recent history of the agency has been shaky, but he urged the committee to reject Gov. Sam Brownback's budget proposal, which would cut funding to the KBA significantly.

Duane Cantrell, was hired in November as president and chief executive officer of the KBA, which invests tax funds in bioscience initiatives.

Brownback's budget proposal would cut KBA funding from $35 million to $10 million.

In previous years, the KBA has been the target of criticism from Brownback, who prodded the KBA to conduct an audit of its financial dealings.

A $1 million audit of the KBA found that the KBA board had handled investments in an acceptable manner, but alleged some questionable expenditures of former KBA president and chief executive officer Tom Thornton, who resigned in 2011.

On Tuesday, Cantrell told the Senate Ways and Means Committee that the KBA had developed an "entitlement mentality" and that it had been unresponsive in instances.

He said the agency was determined "to earn" back the trust of the Legislature.

He said the KBA, which was established in 2004, has done exemplary work in helping produce high-paying bioscience jobs in Kansas.


Bradley Kemp 5 years, 3 months ago

About a fifth of the jobs the KBA has had a hand in creating during its eight years of operation were created during the past year.

Joe Blackford II 5 years, 3 months ago

The forensic audit shows the KBA spent > $450K with Midwest Research Institute (MRIGlobal), of which a KBA board member, Col/Dr. David R. Franz, is VP. He recused himself from actually awarding himself the contracts; however, HE is the KBA Expert for bio- & agro-terrorism.

Franz sits on the DHS Homeland Security Science & Technology Advisory Committee, HSSTAC; which evaluated all Govt. labs & decided Plum Island Animal Disease Center should be shuttered & the National Bio- & Agro-terrorism Defense Facility should be built at Franz' alma mater, KSU.

Franz' MRI has placed 8 employees adjacent to the NBAF site; where they have been greasing the skids to get KSU's Bioterrorism Research Institute to pass certification as a BSL-3 lab. Then, KBA paid MRI to predict how the NBAF could be run as a Govt. Owned, Contractor Operated facility. You have to wonder what company will run the NBAF for USDA (DHS) . . . .

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