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BGR In The News

City Council ‘didn’t care until everything went south’ at S&WB: J.P. Morrell

Aug 17, 2017

The (S&WB) board of directors was reduced from 13 to 11 members, council members lost their three seats and new members had to be nominated by local university presidents. The moves had support from the nonpartisan watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research and the New Orleans Business Council.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

First projects in New Orleans’ multibillion-dollar street repair campaign behind schedule

Jun 29, 2017

New Orleans’ ambitious plan to pour billions of dollars into fixing its crumbling streets is already behind schedule before it has really gotten started.

Source: The Advocate

Traffic cam money pads the general fund

May 30, 2017

A new report from the Bureau of Government Research says New Orleans isn’t using ANY traffic camera money to fix the streets. Our guest, Amy Glovinsky, President of the Bureau of Governmental Research says, “on the issue of traffic related fees, fines, and taxes [that] simply takes a commitment to use the discretionary funds.”

Source: WWL Radio

A discussion of street maintenance and how to pay for it with Amy Glovinsky, President of BGR

May 26, 2017

This week on All Things New Orleans, we’ll discuss a report on street maintenance and how to pay for it with Amy Glovinsky, President of the Bureau for Governmental Research.

Source: WWNO

Report: Money from traffic cam fines isn’t going to city streets

May 26, 2017

The independent Bureau of Governmental Research maintains now is the time to install a reliable maintenance program for city streets. “It’s very important that we go about it in a way that captures and preserves for the long term, the rebuilding that we’re about to embark upon,” BGR President and CEO Amy Glovinsky said

Source: WWL-TV

BGR Releases ‘Paying For Streets: Options For Funding Road Maintenance In New Orleans’

May 10, 2017

As BGR has pointed out in past reports, underfunding maintenance of the street network leads to far higher costs in the long run. The city itself estimates that every dollar invested in preventive maintenance can save four or five dollars in repair costs down the road. But the city has been spending far less than the $30 million to $35 million it says it needs to maintain streets.

Source: Biz New Orleans

New Orleans spends a fraction of what it needs to on street maintenance, group says

May 9, 2017

BGR continues to advocate, as it has for years, that the city redirect funds to street maintenance needs from sources such as traffic camera tickets, parking tickets, parking meters, parking taxes and vehicle sales taxes. The report stated these revenue sources will generate $52.2 million this year, which is more than five times the $9.5 million that New Orleans budgeted for streets in 2017.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Amid strong opposition from city employees, Stacy Head pulls plan to reform pension system

Apr 27, 2017

The heavy criticism was a blow for Head, whose years of efforts to revamp the pension system resulted in a reform plan that included some recommendations from the pension system’s board, some from the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research and some from her own research.

Source: The Advocate

Stacy Head: Why we need municipal employee pension reform now

Apr 20, 2017

The reforms I am proposing are based on years of research and comparisons with other governments and recommendations by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

Many old issues re-emerge as New Orleans prepares for upcoming legislative session

Apr 7, 2017

Amy Glovinsky, the group’s president and CEO, said BGR is focused on “bringing our exemptions in line with national norms.”

Source: The Advocate

What kind of ‘change’ agendas might New Orleans mayoral candidates tout?

Apr 3, 2017

Speaking at a breakfast sponsored by the Bureau of Governmental Research last week, Landrieu didn’t say who he hoped would run to replace him. But he did make it perfectly clear what he hoped that person would say and do.

Source: The Advocate

LaToya Cantrell’s understated announcement typical of slow-building mayoral race

Apr 3, 2017

Speaking to a breakfast sponsored by the Bureau of Governmental Research last week, Landrieu said he plans to “finish strong.” “I’ve never been a lame duck in anything,” he said.

Source: The Advocate

Councilwoman Stacy Head proposes money-saving changes to city retirement system

Mar 7, 2017

Head’s proposal, which draws from some of the recommendations in a report by the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research last year, has the support of the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region.

Source: The Advocate

BGR report proposes using fees, not taxes, to fund New Orleans’ drainage system

Feb 14, 2017

The New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board should consider levying usage fees to pay for the upkeep of its drainage system rather than relying on the property taxes that now fund the system, according to a new report from the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

Here’s how Convention Center can help fund New Orleans public safety plan

Feb 11, 2017

But that raises questions about whether the city should be able to determine its own priorities, or whether it should rely on the largess of another entity. “It does strike one as an unusual power dynamic that speaks to the need to revisit that structure,” Amy Glovinsky, president and CEO of BGR, a nonpartisan research group, said last week.

Source: The Advocate

Why will New Orleans property owners get another tax bill this year?

Feb 1, 2017

This millage provides 28 percent of the revenue the Sewerage and Water Board uses for system upkeep, according to the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Major expansion of surveillance cameras in French Quarter, 20 hot spots

Jan 23, 2017

The city will be picking up about $16 million of the cost of the plan, with the rest being born by the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The convention center is a state entity with its own taxing power that has come under criticism from the non-partisan Bureau of Governmental Research for maintaining a $200 million reserve, which the group has argued could go toward other more urgent needs in the city.

Source: The Advocate

Early voting begins Saturday for December election

Nov 25, 2016

The city says the tax would yield an estimated $8.9 million a year to help pay settlement costs for the tens of millions of dollars in legal judgments it owes to firefighters and their pension fund. The Bureau of Governmental Research has endorsed the tax proposal.

Source: WWL-TV

New Orleans voters to decide on drainage tax renewal Dec. 10

Nov 25, 2016

The BGR report noted that the money the S&WB brings in for drainage work is largely consumed by operational costs and paying back loans. As a result, about $50 million worth of work had to be deferred in 2016 because not enough money was available.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans voters consider fire, drainage taxes on Dec. 10 ballot

Nov 25, 2016

Without a new revenue source — in addition to the millage up for renewal — New Orleans’ deferred drainage work could exceed $270 million by 2020, BGR says.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

‘Yes’ on firefighter and drainage taxes for New Orleans: Editorial

Nov 20, 2016

The Sewerage & Water Board already lacks money for its capital improvement program, and the agency soon will be on the hook for additional expenses, according to BGR.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR backs both New Orleans property tax items on Dec. 10 ballot

Nov 16, 2016

Absent any additional revenue sources, BGR says keeping the drainage property tax in place is advantageous because it is established and voters understand the assessment and collection process.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Watchdog group endorses New Orleans fire and drainage taxes on December ballot

Nov 15, 2016

A leading government watchdog group is supporting two property tax measures on the Dec. 10 ballot in New Orleans, a new tax designed to pay for a settlement between the city and firefighters and a tax renewal to pay for drainage. The nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research gave both taxes the thumbs up in a report issued Tuesday.

Source: The Advocate

Our Views: A charter change not ready for voters

Oct 25, 2016

BGR pointedly did not endorse the ballot proposal after reviewing its particulars — or its lack of them. “Without a companion ordinance, the charter amendment presents an incomplete picture of the revised Police Monitor structure that would emerge upon passage of the amendment,” BGR noted.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans voters asked to approve inspector general, police monitor split

Oct 24, 2016

The nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research is not taking a position, although in a recent report it questioned whether the amendment was necessary. Among its concerns is whether the rift between Quatrevaux and Hutson needed to be settled through a charter alteration.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Orleans charter change won’t change much

Oct 23, 2016

Whatever happens Nov. 8, there will be no more spats between Quatrevaux and Hutson, but BGR, which takes no position on the charter change, points out that voters will be missing such key information as to who will hire, fire and establish terms of employment for the police monitor.

Source: The Advocate

Police monitor, inspector general ask Orleans voters to finalize their divorce

Oct 21, 2016

The BGR, which took no position on the amendment, said it also found no evidence that the conflict between Quatrevaux and Hutson “is due to any inherent flaw in the charter provisions making the police monitor a division of the (inspector general).”

Source: The Advocate

BGR finds faults in New Orleans police monitor charter amendment

Oct 12, 2016

Ahead of the Nov. 8 election, BGR is officially taking no position on the charter amendment, even as it stressed in a report Wednesday that a change might not be necessary and could reduce accountability from all parties involved.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

The $165 million question: How best to invest New Orleans’ tourism tax revenue?

Aug 3, 2016

The BGR study estimated that the hotel taxes generated $165.9 million in 2015. After accounting for all the pass-throughs and levels of distributions, the watchdog group estimated that about $126.8 million — 76 percent — went to tourism-related entities. The remaining 24 percent went to public services such as city government, transportation and education.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR honors officials, citizens for good work

May 15, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research last week presented its 2016 Excellence in Government Awards during a luncheon ceremony. Established in 1994, the awards program recognizes government employees and citizens for outstanding performance and creative problem-solving.

Source: The Advocate

Our Views: Vote for tax plan in Saturday’s city election

Apr 9, 2016

We share some of the reservations of the Bureau of Governmental Research, www.bgr.org, about long-term bond issues for street repairs that might last, at best, for the length of the bond payments. Still, BGR is for the bond issue because of the “abysmal” condition of New Orleans streets.

Source: The Advocate

Next steps after New Orleans voters reject tax increase for police expansion, firefighters?

Apr 9, 2016

Residents throughout the city were skeptical of providing more funding to the NOPD, even as groups such as the Bureau of Governmental Research, the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region and public employee unions came out in favor of the plan.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans street repair pledge leads voters to back $120 million bond sale

Apr 9, 2016

The nonprofit watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research, which previously raised questions about the city’s overall tax structure, endorsed the bond issue but raised concerns the city’s 30-year debt service plan.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

To Pay First Responders, New Orleans Heads To Polls

Apr 8, 2016

This Saturday New Orleanians will have a chance to vote on new taxes intended to improve public safety and settle long-standing debts to the fire department. The nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research issued a report on the vote, saying the increases are needed, lest other programs be cut.

Source: WWNO

Our Views: Vote for tax plan in Saturday’s city election

Apr 8, 2016

We share some of the reservations of the Bureau of Governmental Research, www.bgr.org, about long-term bond issues for street repairs that might last, at best, for the length of the bond payments.

Source: The Advocate

Separate questions deserve a separate vote

Apr 4, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research notes that putting the two taxes together “may complicate the decision-making process.”

Source: Mid-City Messenger

City seeks more taxes on April 9

Apr 4, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research, which had opposed the 2015 new library tax and other millage increases in recent years, endorsed the 7.5 mills for police and fire.

Source: Louisiana Weekly

Taxes vs. Tulane scholarships: Towards a more equitable way to deal with exemptions

Apr 4, 2016

As reported by the Bureau of Governmental Research in 2011, over 4,900 parcels were owed by non-profit organizations and exempt from paying property taxes.

Source: The Lens

Editorial: It takes a millage

Mar 28, 2016

“Approval of the tax would represent a major commitment by taxpayers to give the troubled Police Department the resources necessary to rebuild its ranks, reduce response times and provide better public safety outcomes,” the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) wrote in its endorsement of the millage. The BGR cautioned, however, that the City Council would have to play watchdog to make sure benchmarks are met. We agree.

Source: Gambit

Tax increase could end decades of disputes over New Orleans firefighters’ pay, pensions

Mar 26, 2016

In addition to Landrieu and the firefighters, the millage increases have been endorsed by other labor unions, the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research and two high-profile business groups, Greater New Orleans Inc. and the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans public employee unions back proposed tax hike for police, fire

Mar 23, 2016

The property tax increase has also received the support of the Fraternal Order of Police, the Bureau of Governmental Research, Greater New Orleans Inc. and the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region. So far, no organized opposition to the measure has emerged.

Source: The Advocate

Business groups endorse proposed tax hike for public safety in New Orleans

Mar 22, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research and the New Orleans chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police also have endorsed the millage hike. So far, no organized opposition to the measure has emerged.

Source: The Advocate

Our Views: We support New Orleans fire, police tax

Mar 20, 2016

But the Bureau of Governmental Research, which is backing the proposition, notes that there is little research supporting the notion that 1,600 is the ideal size.

Source: The Advocate

Our Views: New bonds for streets

Mar 20, 2016

A guide to the upsides and downsides of the bond issue, seemingly “free” money, is available from the indispensable work of the Bureau of Governmental Research. Despite some reservations, BGR is for the bond issue because of the “abysmal” condition of New Orleans streets.

Source: The Advocate

‘Yes’ for more money for New Orleans police, firefighters and streets: Editorial

Mar 20, 2016

According to the Bureau of Governmental Research, which is supporting the increase, the owner of a $350,000 home would pay an additional $262.50 in taxes each year. That is less than $22 per month.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Government watchdog endorses $120M bond proposal, 7.5 mill public safety tax hike

Mar 18, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research this week endorsed a pair of ballot initiatives that would permit the city to issue $120 million in bonds and raise property taxes dedicated to public safety by a combined 7.5 mills, generating about $26.6 million annually.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Two April 9th Tax Proposals Deserve Public Support

Mar 17, 2016

Even the generally tax-averse Bureau of Governmental Research called the streets and capital improvements proposal a “more holistic approach.”

Source: Uptown Messenger

Proposed tax hike in New Orleans for police, fire departments would be ‘major commitment’

Mar 16, 2016

“The City Council and administration must hold the NOPD accountable for achieving its goals and carefully calibrate funding to the department’s true needs,” the report says. “The goals should include increasing the number of officers assigned to calls for service.”

Source: The Advocate

BGR supports April 9 tax vote for N.O. police, fire, street repairs

Mar 16, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research has come out in support of two tax proposals on the April 9 ballot in New Orleans, one to increase funding for police and firefighters, the other to pay for street repairs and other improvements.

Source: WWL-TV

City officials eyeing new and extended taxes to pay for streets, drainage work

Jan 19, 2016

Bureau of Governmental Research President Celeste Coco-Ewing urged members of the task force to review a report the nonpartisan think tank released in November detailing how the use of dedicated funding streams means that while some areas of local government are scrambling, certain well-funded efforts such as the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center are flush.

Source: The Advocate

Fix My Streets group gets crash course in city finance; new taxes under consideration

Jan 19, 2016

Celeste Coco Ewing, president and CEO of the Bureau of Governmental Research, recommended working group members evaluate the nonprofit watchdog’s most recent report on city tax dedications. While stopping short of suggesting how the city spends its tax revenue, the report from November examines how scarce resources in some areas of city government are offset with flush coffers in others.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Fix My Streets committee hears litany of complaints from citizens

Jan 19, 2016

“We found out that there was about a billion dollars of local tax revenue,” said the Bureau of Governmental Research’s Celeste Coco-Ewing. “Of that, about three percent of that local tax revenue goes to roads.”

Source: WWL-TV

With tax revenues all tied up, can New Orleans meet its needs?: Celeste Coco-Ewing

Dec 11, 2015

Policymakers also owe it to the public to find a way to deploy existing tax revenues optimally and should simultaneously take steps toward that goal.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Mayor Landrieu appoints task force to identify New Orleans’ infrastructure needs

Dec 7, 2015

A recent report by the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) noted that local taxpayers ante up more than $1 billion a year, but only about a quarter of that goes toward general city services. The rest is dedicated to a wide array of services and entities, some of which have huge cash reserves.

Source: Gambit

DuBos: City should consider un-dedicating some taxes

Dec 1, 2015

Mayor Mitch Landrieu wants a special task force to find ways to pay for better streets. That task force should read a recent report by the Bureau of Governmental Research. BGR noted that local taxpayers pony up more than a billion dollars a year, but only about a quarter of that goes toward general city purposes. The rest has been dedicated, much of it in piecemeal fashion over the years.

Source: WWL-TV

Mitch Landrieu appoints group to fix New Orleans streets

Nov 30, 2015

From past research and reports from groups like the Bureau of Governmental Research, the City estimates that an additional $9.3 billion is needed over the next 20 to 30 years to completely reconstruct the City’s streets and subsurface infrastructure, as well as to maintain streets in fair or better condition.

Source: WGNO

A $1 billion puzzler: Are New Orleans’ taxing priorities ripe for revamp?

Nov 10, 2015

In a new report, the watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research used the stalled convention center expansion, along with several examples, to call for a full-scale appraisal of just where every tax dollar in New Orleans ends up and a setting of new priorities in a city of fatted calves and long-neglected corners.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR: Taxes in New Orleans may not be funding city’s priorities

Nov 10, 2015

Rather than bolstering public safety or fixing the city’s streets, much of the tax money that New Orleans collects is going to agencies devoted to promoting tourism, according to a new report from the nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research that raises questions about whether dedicated taxes are funding services that are out of step with the priorities of residents.

Source: The Advocate

Where do New Orleanians’ tax dollars go? New report says maybe not toward top priorities

Nov 10, 2015

The most stark example in BGR’s report is the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, a state agency that is funded in part by such a dedicated tax and that the report says has built up a “startling” surplus of $200 million, five times the center’s annual operating budget of $40.2 million.

Source: The Advocate

BGR says City Council is bound by master plan in making land-use decisions

Oct 29, 2015

BGR sides with those seeking a strict interpretation of the master plan, noting that the City Charter states that all zoning ordinances and amendments must be consistent with the overarching document and any that aren’t “shall be null and void.”

Source: The Advocate

French Quarter sales tax increase to fund State Police contingent wins handily

Oct 24, 2015

Citing city figures, the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research said the city assured it that the NOPD would stick to a baseline of 10 to 15 on-duty NOPD cops assigned to each of three daily patrol shifts.

Source: The Advocate

State Police, public safety—not NOPD—focus of French Quarter sales tax plan

Oct 8, 2015

The need for bolstering policing in the French Quarter is apparent, according to statistics compiled by the Bureau of Governmental Research. That nonpartisan watchdog group, which supports the tax plan, found that crime in the French Quarter had jumped 55 percent overall between 2010 and 2014.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Critics: City Council ignoring master plan for land-use decisions; other say that’s false

Sep 5, 2015

But those supporting the master plan and the “force of law” provision included a host of neighborhood groups, civic organizations and the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

Critics: N.O. City Council ignoring master plan for land-use decisions; other say that’s false

Sep 4, 2015

But those supporting the master plan and the “force of law” provision included a host of neighborhood groups, civic organizations and the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

Effective management and saving money are key if New Orleans is continue with its strong budgets

Jul 16, 2015

A BGR research study last year described in fuller detail the mayor’s battles with the long-troubled Firefighters’ Pension and Relief Funds. “Poor investments, market misfortunes, an ill-advised financing scheme, underfunding, judgments and excessive generosity have combined to create a crushing burden,” BGR said.

Source: The Advocate

Preservation pit bull Bill Borah says new zoning code should trigger Master Plan update

Jun 24, 2015

Fortunately for New Orleans and the City Planning Commission there is a document that outlines the defects of the current Master Plan and proposes a strategy for remedying its deficiencies. The 2009 Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) report, “In Search of the Master Plan,” is that document, and it as valid today as the day it was written.

Source: The Lens

Our Views: $60,000 for Sewerage and Water Board director Cedric Grant’s office ‘a tone-deaf expense’

Jun 12, 2015

“The Sewerage & Water Board’s recently approved rate increases will cover only a fraction of the estimated $3.2 billion cost of overhauling the leaky water distribution network,” the Bureau of Governmental Research reported late last year.

Source: The Advocate

Owe late fees or fines to New Orleans? You’re in luck

Jun 11, 2015

The original bill would have allowed the mayor to erase principle debt on fines and fees, too. The government watchdog, Bureau of Governmental Research, had advised the administration that this could encourage those who owed money to simply stall on paying until the mayor called for an amnesty period.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Massive overhaul of New Orleans zoning regulations approved

May 15, 2015

The last-minute changes drew a rebuke from the Bureau of Governmental Research. The nonprofit watchdog agency’s president, Janet Howard, said the public deserved more time to read, digest and comment on the new proposals, particularly given that the ordinance has been years in the making.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans City Council approves Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance with late-hour amendments

May 14, 2015

The surprise changes enraged many in the crowd and drew a sharp rebuke from Janet Howard, president of the Bureau of Government Research, a watchdog group. “Are these 11th hour changes good or bad? It’s impossible to know” because nobody’s had a chance to study them, Howard said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

New Orleans firefighters are inflating pension benefits, Landrieu administration alleges

Apr 25, 2015

(City Finance Director) Norman Foster said that he and other members of the administration did not become fully aware of the pension calculation issue until the Bureau of Governmental Research, a watchdog think tank, discovered it in 2013 and brought it to his attention.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Even if voters reject proposed library tax, options for increased funding still exist

Apr 24, 2015

The city hasn’t funded the library directly since the mid-1980s, except for occasional small contributions. “They’re part of city government.” said Janet Howard, director of the Bureau of Governmental Research, which recently came out against the millage proposal. “It’s not been their practice now, but that’s not to say it couldn’t be their practice.”

Source: The Lens

Residents appeal to City Council for changes to new zoning law

Apr 19, 2015

The Bureau of Governmental Research is still not satisfied with a portion of the proposed law that would allow exemptions to some normal rules for “planned developments” that include “enhanced amenities,” such as open space and bike-sharing facilities, in their plans.

Source: The Advocate

New zoning for New Orleans: 4 years of contention, compromise to frame future development

Apr 15, 2015

Article 5 continues to be a bugbear for government watchdogs who see it as giving developers and city officials too much leeway to barter and trade on zoning exceptions for major projects. “This is just an invitation to a spot zone,” said Janet Howard, executive director of the watchdog organization Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Voters to decide on tax hike for public libraries

Apr 11, 2015

However the local non-profit Bureau of Governmental Research that educates voters on what’s on the ballot, says raising property taxes is not the only way to fund libraries. “It can be funded out of the general fund if the city sees it as a priority,“Janet Howard, President of the Bureau of Governmental Research said.

Source: FOX 8

Bill filed to study merging New Orleans Police Department and Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office

Apr 4, 2015

“There’s a serious misalignment between powers and responsibilities,” said Janet Howard, who as president of the Bureau of Governmental Research would have a seat on Morrell’s proposed commission. “The city is responsible for picking up the tab for inmates, and the jail is run by someone other than the city. This is clearly creating serious problems.”

Source: The Advocate

An NOPD, Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office merger? Lawmakers to consider it

Apr 2, 2015

The panel would consist of state lawmakers, the sheriff, the mayor, the NOPD superintendent, the chairperson of the City Council’s criminal justice committee, the New Orleans inspector general and leaders of the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation, the New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce, the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, the Public Affairs Research Council, the Bureau of Governmental Research and the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Amid rising costs, New Orleans employee pension fund under pressure to trim benefits

Feb 2, 2015

But the New Orleans plan, compared to other systems, can yield unusually lavish benefits for certain kinds of employees, according to a 2012 analysis by the Bureau of Governmental Research, a local think tank. Under certain circumstances, lifelong employees can earn more in retirement than they did on the job thanks to addition of their Social Security benefit, according to the report.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Our Views: A reform by Wildes

Dec 29, 2014

Nevertheless, civil service reform is vital to that process, and it has been the subject of numerous reports over many years from the Bureau of Governmental Research and other experts.

Source: The Advocate

Letter: Loyola president deserving of praise for service to N.O.

Dec 29, 2014

BGR called for reform in 2004 and the Business Council did so in 2010; the Civil Service Department staff even made a proposal similar to the Great Place to Work in 2010 and the Forward New Orleans Coalition secured a pledge to reform our civil service system from all mayoral candidates and each of the city council members elected in 2014.

Source: The Advocate

Orleans water board is seeking green, low-tech solutions, director says

Nov 21, 2014

“By the time (my) term is over, there will be no dysfunction,” Grant told several dozen people at a breakfast meeting held by the Bureau of Governmental Research. “There will be accountability and progress.”

Source: The Advocate

Orleans voters to decide on amendments involving city contracts, inauguration dates

Nov 3, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research, a longtime advocate of reforms in how professional services contracts are awarded, points out that the proposed amendment omits some of the key changes Landrieu put in place for his administration.

Source: The Advocate

Letter: Article 5 needs more work

Oct 24, 2014

BGR is not opposed to including in the CZO carefully crafted provisions to allow appropriate planned developments for large sites. Rather, it is taking issue with Article 5 because it is overly broad and unnecessarily vague.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans Draft CZO: Exceptions to the rules

Oct 23, 2014

BGR’s concern remains consistent. The group worries that there is too much wriggle room in that section, which allows city officials to grant exceptions to zoning rules if the alternative proposed offers “substantial benefit” to the city.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Watchdog group wants zoning law tweak

Oct 14, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research issued a report Monday criticizing Article 5, a section of the CZO pertaining to “planned development standards.” BGR said in the report that the “broad scope” of Article 5 works against the overall goal of the CZO to provide clarity and predictability to the land use decision-making process.

Source: CityBusiness

N.O. sheriff, mayor both support plan to shift money for courtroom fix

Oct 6, 2014

The tax would generate about $5 million in its first year, according to a recent report by the Bureau of Governmental Research, which supports the measure.

Source: The Advocate

City Council seeking comments on proposed new zoning law

Sep 17, 2014

(The city’s zoning ordinance) was called “incoherent, over-amended, outdated and vague” in a 2003 study by the Bureau of Governmental Research. “Interpreting the zoning ordinance is well beyond the reach of the typical developer, not to mention the average citizen,” the report said.

Source: The Advocate

Opinion: City needs to sell 2 Canal St.

Sep 2, 2014

The Landrieu administration should follow the suggestion of the Bureau of Government Research, which this week repeated a call it first made in 2009: Sell 2 Canal St.

Source: CityBusiness

Report: City should sell World Trade Center site

Aug 31, 2014

“There have been three failed attempts to do a transaction through a request for proposals, and we think it is time to try something new,” said Janet Howard, president of the Bureau of Governmental Research

Source: WWL-TV

World Trade Center building should be sold off to highest bidder, watchdog group says

Aug 26, 2014

“The city should set a minimum price that approximates fair market value and sell to the highest bidder willing to accept a redevelopment timeline with penalties, including a recapture provision for non-performance,” BGR said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR urges city to sell former World Trade Center building

Aug 26, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research again is urging the city to abandon its efforts to find a developer to lease the former World Trade Center building at the foot of Canal Street and instead to sell the long-vacant property.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans’ water pipes, public buildings, street repairs could be in this man’s hands

Aug 19, 2014

The government watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research cautioned against merging the Sewerage & Water Board and City Hall three years ago out of concern that Landrieu already had too much on his plate and that such a move could increase the pressure of city politics on the agency and its contractors.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

New Orleans Citizens Reform a Corrupt, Fallen City

Jul 25, 2014

Watchdog groups like the New Orleans-based Bureau for Governmental Research and the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University provide data and oversight.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

City’s new zoning law moving toward approval

Jul 24, 2014

(The current zoning law) was called “incoherent, over-amended, outdated and vague” in an October 2003 study by the Bureau of Governmental Research. “Interpreting the zoning ordinance is well beyond the reach of the typical developer, not to mention the average citizen,” the report said.

Source: The Advocate

Non-profit-owned property could generate much-needed tax revenue

Jul 23, 2014

“The only restriction is that it can’t be used for unrelated commercial purpose, but that means somebody can hold property for an investment, they can hold it and not redevelop it, which creates its own set of blight problems,” said BGR President and CEO Janet Howard

Source: FOX 8

Mayor Landrieu’s approach to city contracts heads to New Orleans voters

Jul 10, 2014

Janet Howard, executive director of the government watchdog group Bureau of Governmental Research, said the proposal doesn’t require the mayor accept the selection committees’ recommendations. And should the mayor terminate a hiring process, there is no requirement that he explain himself in writing.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Orleans voters to be asked to decide on contracting rules

Jul 10, 2014

BGR President Janet Howard said her organization has lingering concerns. She said the charter also should require that the mayor either accept a selection committee’s recommendation or else terminate the specific procurement involved and explain that decision in writing.

Source: The Advocate

City Council to consider charter changes on contracting

Jul 9, 2014

BGR President Janet Howard said her organization agrees that the mayor should have some flexibility in emergency situations but that the proposed language “would practically invite future mayors to grant exceptions.”

Source: The Advocate

Landrieu wants voters to make it harder for a mayor to steer city business to favored firms

Jul 8, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research has called for changes like the ones outlined on Tuesday. President Janet Howard warned at the meeting that one provision would allow a mayor to get around the competitive selection process if he deemed it “in the best interest of the city.”

Source: The Lens

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