In The News › Contracting

Coverage of BGR in local, regional, and national media

BGR In The News

If the candidates aren’t inspiring voters, maybe voters should inspire the candidates

Sep 17, 2017

Voters should also check out BGR’s “Questions For A New Mayor” report at www.bgr.org. The report is a compilation of candidates’ responses to 18 questions developed by BGR. The topics covered include ways to address police manpower; retooling city employee pensions; fixing and maintaining street and drainage infrastructure, and more.

Source: Gambit

BGR’s New Orleans mayoral candidate survey covers hot topics

Sep 14, 2017

Everybody is looking for answers from the crowded field of candidates for the New Orleans mayoral race. The nonprofit watchdog Bureau for Governmental Research took its crack at it, calling on each of the 18 candidates to answer questions based on a series of detailed public policy reports its researchers published in recent years.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Pay to play? This multimillion-dollar government contractor refuses to say

Feb 13, 2015

Louisiana Housing might have a strong argument, said Mike Purdy, a public contracting specialist who assisted the Bureau of Governmental Research with its landmark 2012 report on Jefferson Parish procurement practices. The company, he said, “could argue that the Housing Authority selected me based on a certain set of requirements and it did not include the requirement you didn’t pay somebody to help get the job.”

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

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

Our Views: Our positions on charter, tax proposal

Oct 17, 2014

The charter amendment on contracting would codify some of these reforms, giving them more permanence than an executive order that could be changed by a new mayor. We agree with the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research that this amendment should have gone further.

Source: The Advocate

City issues new RFP for former World Trade Center site

Oct 1, 2014

In August, the Bureau of Governmental Research urged the city to abandon its efforts to lease the property and instead sell it.

Source: The Advocate

Jefferson Parish Council gives up some discretion over contracting: Editorial

Sep 3, 2014

The revisions fall short of what the Bureau of Governmental Research recommended and what the Jefferson Parish Citizens for Good Government urged the council to adopt. But the ordinance the Parish Council approved last week does limit the council’s discretion.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson council votes to reform contracting procedures

Aug 28, 2014

Several of those changes, including tweaks to the provision giving the council leeway in close contests, came after the Bureau of Governmental Research suggested them in a letter earlier this summer. The nonpartisan policy group has been a leading critic of Jefferson Parish’s contracting process.

Source: The Advocate

Jefferson Parish Council approves contracting reform named for late activist

Aug 27, 2014

That version also would have removed Young’s directors, political appointees overseeing administrative departments, from the evaluation committees. Young and the non-profit Bureau of Governmental Research took issue with the removal.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish contracting reform in limbo months after the death of its chief advocate

Aug 4, 2014

At the June 11 council meeting, Young and the president of the non-profit Bureau of Governmental Research, Janet Howard, took issue with how the Roberts’ measure would determine who sits on a proposal evaluation committee. As now written, the measure would bar the administration’s department directors from voting on committees, though they could weigh in during discussions where their expertise is necessary.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

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

New Orleans Mayor Landrieu wants to codify his changes to contracting and DBE rules

Jul 8, 2014

The proposal has the tacit support of the Business Council of New Orleans & the River Region and the government watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research, although both groups said it doesn’t go far enough to keep future mayors from meddling with city contracts.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson council defers contracting reform

Jun 12, 2014

(BGR President Janet) Howard said after the meeting that while the ordinance is a step in the right direction, BGR would like to see it go even further. “We don’t think the council should have any discretion in selecting (winning proposals),” Howard said. “While this doesn’t completely take away discretion, it’s a step toward it.”

Source: The Advocate

Vote on Jefferson Parish contracting changes is postponed to address specifics

Jun 11, 2014

Along with Parish President John Young, Janet Howard, president of the Bureau of Governmental Research, took issue with a proposal to remove administration-appointed department directors from committees that evaluate and score the companies applying for work. Howard said that removing such directors from committees is not a “best practice.”

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish contracting changes are proposed, after death of their most vocal advocate

Jun 10, 2014

BGR also questioned why administration appointees should be removed from scoring, as they often are the people most responsible for the project and with the most expertise. “Nowhere in the BGR’s research of best practices has it come across a recommendation to ban politically appointed department directors from the evaluation process,” BGR’s letter reads.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish IG concerned lack of direction compromises hospital lease negotiation

Apr 9, 2014

Last year, McClintock joined the Bureau of Governmental Research and others in criticizing the Parish Council for failing to establish objective scoring criteria for selecting a lessee for the hospitals.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish hospitals forging ahead on different tracks as inspector general voices concern

Apr 9, 2014

In some respects, his memo echoes concerns he expressed in December. And it aligns with a report from the Bureau of Governmental Reseach, which in November blasted the Parish Council for a process that was in “total disarray,” lacking objective criteria and “shrouded in secrecy.”

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Incumbent Yenni facing two challengers in mayor’s race

Apr 1, 2014

(Al Morella) said he would use recommendations from the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research to strengthen local laws pertaining to no-bid contracts and governmental transparency.

Source: The Advocate

Guest commentary: N.O. contract reform has long history

Mar 4, 2014

Those reforms empowered an independent “watchdog” OIG that Janet Howard at the Bureau of Governmental Research credits as the “linchpin” of contracting reform.

Source: The Advocate

City contract process improved watchdogs say

Feb 25, 2014

BGR President Janet Howard said Quatrevaux’s office is the linchpin of the city’s new contracting process and the reason it is so much improved.

Source: The Advocate

Nagin long shown tendency to deny, rewrite reality

Feb 17, 2014

The watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research announced that Nagin had essentially reneged on a pledge he had signed before the primary, promising to reform the awarding of professional-services contracts at City Hall. The group said Nagin’s “modification” of the pledge — a change that kept patronage power vested in the mayor — amounted to a nullification of it.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans tightens financial controls post-Nagin

Feb 13, 2014

But according to the BGR, there is more the city can do to tighten up the procurement process and safeguard public tax dollars. “You could take a look at extending civil service to the head of the procurement office,” said Janet Howard, BGR president. “That would be one to look at. You could look again at the composition of the selection committee.”

Source: WWL-TV

Jefferson Parish Council to consider disqualifying HCA from hospital lease

Jan 30, 2014

The selection process began more than 18 months ago but dissolved into “total disarray,” according to the Bureau of Governmental Research, after the hospital boards failed in August to agree on a recommendation.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Ray Nagin faces trial to decide his fate on federal corruption charges

Jan 25, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research asked candidates to sign a pledge to change the way contracts for professional services – lawyers, architects, consultants, technology officers and the like – were awarded. Under previous administrations, the mayor had sole discretion over such choices. The watchdog group, however, felt those decisions were better left to a panel of experts.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson hospital lease process started with ‘one parish,’ wound up with division

Jan 14, 2014

Three years later, the boards are irreconcilably divided over choosing an operator to lease the hospitals, and the whole process is “in total disarray,” to use the words of the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Our Views: BGR helped shape 2013

Jan 2, 2014

After a deeply partisan 2013, where will Americans find common ground in 2014?

Source: The Advocate

Start over, sell hospitals

Dec 16, 2013

According to the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR), the Byzantine process used by the council underscores all that’s wrong with Jefferson’s historically politicized, council-centric procurement policy. “It’s just another example of why there’s such a pressing need there for reform,” said BGR president Janet Howard.

Source: Gambit

Jefferson Parish Coroner urges Parish Council to take more time, seek advice on hospital lease

Dec 11, 2013

Cvitanovich’s call for a clear scoring method echoes the concern of Bureau of Governmental Research, which said in a critical report last month that the process has fallen into “total disarray.”

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Independent committees are way to depoliticize contracts

Nov 29, 2013

The Times-Picayune, Bureau of Governmental Research and Citizens for Good Government have all supported common-sense contracting reforms over the years.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson hospital lease finalists trade shots as Parish Council prepares for a decision

Nov 25, 2013

HCA and Children’s officials criticized each other’s proposals in interviews last week as Inspector General David McClintock finalized his report on the wayward lease process, which the Bureau of Governmental Research has said is in “total disarray.”

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Take contributions out of the contracting process in Jefferson Parish: Editorial

Nov 22, 2013

Her group supports recommendations in a 2012 Bureau of Governmental Research report that analyzed contractor contributions. BGR suggested transferring authority over contracting to the parish president. Whether the administration or the council makes the decision, the report recommended requiring that professional contracts be awarded to the firm with the highest evaluation from technical committees

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Lee Zurik Investigation: Big campaign donors get big contracts in JP

Nov 19, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research has urged the parish to tighten its rules. (BGR President Janet) Howard says, “They’re basically able to choose anyone they want who meets certain minimum qualifications. They don’t have to choose the highest-ranked contractor, the second highest-ranked, third, fourth, fifth. They’re able to just take anyone who… puts in a bid and makes a minimum score, basically.”

Source: FOX 8

Companies seeking no-bid contracts dominate Jefferson Parish campaign contribution list

Nov 19, 2013

But the evaluations from those committees Zahn mentioned are almost meaningless, according to Janet Howard, president of the independent Bureau of Governmental Research, because council members are not required to consider the scores when picking a contractor.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and Fox 8

Campaign finance transparency not enough to fix Jefferson Parish’s contracting problems, groups say

Nov 19, 2013

But the Bureau of Governmental Research and parish residents seeking more substantial contracting changes said transparency alone is not enough. They want council members to revive a stalled proposal to curb politicians’ ability to award some professional contracts without regard to technical rankings.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and Fox 8

Stephanie Grace: Hospitals’ politics have long tradition

Nov 10, 2013

Last week, the watchdog group Bureau of Governmental Research issued a harsh report declaring the process “overly subjective,” and chalking up problems to the lack of an objective contracting process that identified the most important factors, used a formula to measure those criteria and gave each contestant a final score.

Source: The Advocate

BGR critical of hospital selection process

Nov 7, 2013

The process of deciding which company should run Jefferson Parish’s two public hospitals is in “total disarray,” owing in part to a lack of clear standards to be used for the selection, the Bureau of Governmental Research said in a report released Thursday. The report ties the problems with the decision-making process to the non-partisan policy group’s larger critiques of Jefferson Parish’s contracting processes.

Source: The Advocate

Jefferson Parish hospitals lease is in ‘total disarray’ and ‘shrouded in secrecy’, BGR says

Nov 7, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research criticized Jefferson Parish on Thursday for how it is selecting a private operator to lease the parish’s two public hospitals. The process is in “total disarray,” lacking objective criteria and “shrouded in secrecy,” the report states.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Hospital president talks about massive University Medical Center construction and privatization

Oct 10, 2013

When leaders of Children’s Hospital began contemplating whether to take over operations of the new $1.1 billion University Medical Center under construction in Mid-City, they made what they believed was a simple request from the state. They wanted to see the architectural drawings for the state-run project. “They said no,” said Gregory Feirn, president and chief operations officer of Louisiana Children’s Medical Center, speaking Thursday morning at a breakfast sponsored by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Questions of would-be WTC developers are revealing

Jul 17, 2013

The question of who would operate the consortium’s proposed structure also was raised by the Bureau of Governmental Research in a report released earlier this month.

Source: The Advocate

Iko-icon

Jul 9, 2013

As for the Tricentennial Consortium’s proposal, it’s hard to improve on the description by the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR), which called it “an unspecified iconic tourist attraction.” Even more confusing, according to the BGR: The tower concept described in the RFP is merely a “placeholder” — which makes the rendering shown to the public meaningless.

Source: Gambit Weekly

Panel refines process for considering WTC proposals

Jul 2, 2013

(Chief Administrative Officer Andy) Kopplin, in the meeting, raised a controversial question about the city’s formal bid solicitation, which includes a vague dictate that proposals “should be privately financed,” with no further explanation. The Bureau of Governmental Research issued a report Monday criticizing that and other unexplained directives as “not exactly a mandate.”

Source: CityBusiness

Flaws undermine WTC redevelopment plans

Jul 2, 2013

A letter that BGR President and CEO Janet Howard sent to Mayor Mitch Landrieu in February described the city’s RFP as vague and ambiguous. Specifically, she was critical of the selection criteria and their unclear connection to the RFP’s goals as well as open-ended language concerning the use of public subsidies.

Source: CityBusiness

Bidders for World Trade Center site compete for public support

Jul 1, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research released an analysis of the three bids in a report titled ‘Three Visions For Two Canal Street’ which concludes that the future of the riverfront could hinge on the city’s choice.

Source: WWL-TV

BGR evaluates proposals for redeveloping World Trade Center

Jul 1, 2013

Before it selects a project to move forward with, the committee assigned to evaluate three proposals for redeveloping the World Trade Center should determine, among other things, the direct and indirect fiscal benefits of each proposal, the feasibility of the plans and the adequacy of the compensation the city will receive for leasing the distinctive building, the watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research said in a report released on Monday.

Source: The Advocate

BGR notes lean details in WTC site proposals

Jul 1, 2013

The committee of city officials that will review three proposals Tuesday to redevelop the former World Trade Center will not have at its disposal a current, city-commissioned appraisal of the 33-story tower, according to a report the Bureau of Government Research released this afternoon.

Source: CityBusiness

City considers what to do with WTC site

Jul 1, 2013

And just 24 hours before the selection committee is set to meet and rank the proposals, the non-profit Bureau of Governmental Research released a report on the bids. BGR isn’t taking a position on which proposal would be best, instead laying out the main points of each one.

Source: Fox 8

What Will Happen to the World Trade Center? City Meeting Tuesday

Jul 1, 2013

A watchdog group, the Bureau of Governmental Research, noted in a new report that the World Trade Center’s value hasn’t been appraised for several years. It says that makes it hard to tell if the city’s getting its money’s worth on any of the proposals.

Source: WWNO

New Orleans committee to evaluate proposals for former World Trade Center site on Tuesday

Jul 1, 2013

Also on Monday, the Bureau of Governmental Research released an analysis of the three proposals the committee will consider, offering no conclusions on which is the best but pointing out that their wide disparity and in many cases lack of specificity and detail could make it hard for the committee to reach a decision.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Performing Arts Center deal approved, pending OK of payment mechanism

Jun 12, 2013

The watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research and the Jefferson group Citizens for Good Government have repeatedly cited Lavarine’s criteria to pick the designer as they push for changes to reduce political discretion in parish contracting.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish charter board completes report, declines again to endorse contracting changes

May 23, 2013

Margie Seeman, the group’s vice chairwoman, reminded board members that the Parish Council has postponed voting on the contracting changes until September. She urged the board to endorse a recommendation from the Bureau of Governmental Research requiring the council to award no-bid contracts to the top-ranked firms in technical evaluations.

Source: The Times-Picayune

New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board overhaul bill goes back to giving mayor’s office control

May 22, 2013

The mayor would be able to decline any of the selection committee’s nominees, at which point the committee would have to reconvene to come up with additional names. The Bureau of Governmental Research, a think tank, has pushed against providing this veto power, arguing it could sway the committee to nominate only those the mayor wanted and could politicize the process.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish board ends charter review, sets up public hearings for May 20, 23

May 6, 2013

The board rejected several proposals from Parish President John Young to shift powers from the council to the president. Board members also rejected a push by the Bureau of Governmental Research to reduce the council’s political discretion in parish contracting.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Deal on Jefferson Parish arts center unlikely before Parish Council hearing Wednesday

Apr 30, 2013

Advocates pushing to reduce political discretion in parish contracting, including the Bureau of Governmental Research and the civic group Citizens for Good Government, have used the arts center mess as a rallying cry.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish charter board endorses inspector general’s reserve fund, rejects contracting change

Apr 22, 2013

In other matters Monday, the board rejected a proposal by the Bureau of Governmental Research to transfer the power to hire public contractors from the Parish Council to the parish president. BGR has been pushing to strip the council of its power to pick professional contractors and have the parish president made the selections, based on technical rankings.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish Council should adopt price mandate in contracting, advocates say

Apr 19, 2013

A May 2012 report by the non-profit watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research said price should be a required criterion in parish contracting. The report said that by making price optional, “the council can claim that price is either critically or minimally important in a certain situation in order to steer a contract to a favored vendor.”

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish Council takes over evaluation of outside attorneys

Apr 17, 2013

But the watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research, which has been pushing to reduce the role of politicians in parish contracting, criticized the new process as giving the Parish Council too much power in hiring attorneys.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish charter board may consider contracting changes

Apr 8, 2013

At the request of some charter board members, the Bureau of Governmental Research is helping draft language to remove the council’s virtually unrestricted power to pick professional contractors, and to put the parish president in charge of contracting.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish contracting changes likely to be delayed for third time in 5 weeks

Mar 26, 2013

Jefferson Parish charter board approves ban on outside income for parish president

Mar 18, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research asked the board to pass a charter recommendation that would take away the Parish Council’s power to select public contractors and transfer that responsibility to the parish president. In advocating for the changes, BGR’s President Janet Howard said the parish president is responsible for services and infrastructure in the parish, but is stuck with contractors selected by the council. BGR also recommended that the council set a transparent and competitive contracting process for the president to follow, including a requirement that no-bid contracts be awarded only to the highest scoring firm in technical evaluations. Charter board members have been reluctant, in general, to transfer powers from the council to the administration.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish delays contracting reforms, and disappointed advocates ask for meeting with council

Mar 13, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research, which is advocating for reforms, said the parish could include minority participation in the criteria to evaluate contractors, thus addressing the chamber’s concern while reducing political discretion in the selection process.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish Council cancels disaster cleanup contract over price restrictions

Mar 13, 2013

The Young administration, the Bureau of Governmental Research and Citizens for Good Government have pressed recently to make price and qualifications the most important factors in the selection, and to limit the discretion of the politicians awarding contracts.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish contracting reforms to be delayed again, facing criticism from minority companies

Mar 12, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research President Janet Howard said the parish could make minority participation a part of the criteria used to evaluate proposal from companies, addressing the chamber’s concern while reducing political discretion in the selection process.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Minority businesses say proposed Jefferson Parish contracting rules would work against them

Feb 28, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research has said allowing the council to have “unfettered discretion” creates the risk that contracts will be awarded based on personal relationships rather than qualifications.

Source: The Advocate

BGR lukewarm on Jefferson contract reform efforts

Feb 26, 2013

The Jefferson Parish Council’s proposal to revamp nonprofessional service procurement today received a mixed review from the Bureau of Governmental Research, a government watchdog organization.

Source: CityBusiness

Ray Nagin pleads not guilty to 21 bribery-related charges, avoids comment

Feb 20, 2013

In 2009, the Nagin administration pushed a “tax increment financing” subsidy to redevelop the entire site. BGR criticized the proposal, characterizing it as benefiting the indebted business owners without sufficient guarantees that the mall would actually be redeveloped or the city’s investment be repaid.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish president should not have outside income, some Charter board members say

Feb 18, 2013

Jefferson Parish’s inspector general sees his role as a trailblazer

Feb 11, 2013

One area of interest is the parish council’s dealing with contractors, said Janet Howard, the executive director and president of the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

Sewerage & Water Board members shouldn’t try to weaken reforms: Editorial

Feb 8, 2013

As recommended by the Bureau of Governmental Research, the mayor’s plan is to require that board members have expertise related to the board’s work such as engineering or accounting. That is an essential change. The S&WB deals with highly complicated issues and large budgets, and the board ought to collectively have the education and training to best handle those decisions.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Contract process targeted

Feb 1, 2013

Young has said he supports the idea of the council being limited to only selecting the firm with the overall top score. That rule also has been supported by watchdog groups Citizens for Good Government and the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

Jefferson Parish contracting changes proposed, but one raises objections from John Young

Jan 31, 2013

But the plan would not force the council to pick the No. 1 company in parish evaluations. That’s the preference of watchdog groups, including the Bureau of Governmental Research and Citizens for Good Government.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish council got $356,000 in contributions from vendors, watchdog says

Jan 30, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research, which recommended contracting reforms in Jefferson last year, has also urged the council to mandate the selection of the best-ranked company in professional contracts.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish activists demand action on proposed contracting reforms

Jan 17, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research, however, has urged the council to award professional contracts only to the top-ranked firm.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Business calendar for the week of Dec. 24

Dec 21, 2012

BUREAU OF GOVERNMENTAL RESEARCH: Joseph Becker, general superintendent for the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, and David Waggonner, team leader for Greater New Orleans Water Management Strategy, will discuss the S&WB’s current plans for drainage and an alternate vision for water management based on a Dutch report.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish Council majority backing contracting changes

Dec 19, 2012

In part citing the botched art center project, the Bureau of Governmental Research has proposed sweeping changes to how the parish hires professionals. Among the proposed reforms, the watchdog organization said the council should be required to select the top-ranked company in the technical evaluation of a project — as Johnston is suggesting now.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts suggests limits to council’s contracting power

Dec 14, 2012

The Bureau of Governmental Research earlier this year urged the Parish Council to mandate that professional contracts go to the highest-ranked firm in parish evaluations. The proposal was among several reforms BGR suggested to restrict the discretion politicians in Jefferson Parish enjoy in public contracting.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Landrieu calls water board rate increase vote most important in years

Dec 5, 2012

The Bureau of Governmental Research says they support the rate increase, but also say there must be follow-through proposed changes to how the water board is governed.

Source: WWL-TV

Jefferson Parish reform advocates praise contracting proposal, but urge further changes

Dec 3, 2012

The move was recommended by the Bureau of Governmental Research, which has criticized the large discretion council members have in Jefferson Parish to award no-bid work.

Source: Nola.com

Jefferson Parish council members open to factoring price in professional contracts

Nov 29, 2012

But Mike Purdy, a government contracting expert, said Louisiana law bans using price as a criteria only for three types of professionals: architects, engineers and landscape architects. At a forum earlier this week organized by the Bureau of Governmental Research, Purdy said price should be a factor for all other contracts.

Source: Nola.com

Contract process ‘appalling’: Group says changes needed to improve quality, fairness

Nov 28, 2012

Jefferson Parish President John Young said Tuesday that changes to the way contracts are awarded are necessary to ensure that government and its residents get the best product for their money and so that vendors compete on a level playing field.

Young delivered that message to a crowd of a few dozen people who gathered at the New Orleans Marriott Metairie at Lakeway for a Bureau of Governmental Research “breakfast briefing” on the topic.

Source: The Advocate

Showdown imminent over Jefferson Parish contract procedures

Nov 27, 2012

The measure, at the very least, is likely to reflect the recommendation of BGR, a nonprofit government watchdog organization, that “requests for proposals” weigh price along with other factors.

Source: CityBusiness

Jefferson Parish President John Young says price should be factor in professional contracting

Nov 27, 2012

Young and Purdy talked about the issue during a forum on parish contracting organized by the Bureau of Governmental Research. The watchdog group has been pushing for reforms in how the Jefferson Parish Council selects professional vendors.

Source: Nola.com

Forum about Jefferson Parish’s contracting to go on without council members

Nov 20, 2012

Considering the intense public attention to contracting in Jefferson Parish, the Bureau of Governmental Research earlier this year expected no difficulties finding Parish Council members willing to participate in a forum on the topic. But none of the seven council members would agree to represent their views at the Nov. 27 event, said BGR President Janet Howard.

Source: Nola.com

Mayor Mitch Landrieu proposes cutting City Council members from Sewerage & Water Board

Nov 13, 2012

The Bureau of Governmental Research, a watchdog group, has advised the board to excise all elected officials, including the mayor.

Source: Nola.com

Mayor Mitch Landrieu on water board reform: Cut politics, build trust, then raise rates

Nov 13, 2012

One group, the Bureau of Governmental Research, has advised the board to remove all elected officials, including the mayor. Executive Director Janet Howard said Tuesday that BGR appreciated that Landrieu included many of its recommendations in his proposal, but added that the plan warrants closer study.

Source: Nola.com

Jefferson Parish changes to public hospital contract process raises questions

Nov 12, 2012

But Howard, whose entity has been pushing for contracting reform in Jefferson, said the approved ordinance already keeps the council’s discretion to select professionals without having to pick the top-ranked firm. That’s something BGR opposes.

Source: Nola.com

Jefferson Parish needs to fix contracting process, BGR says: Letter

Nov 11, 2012

In its report, “Private Services in the Public Interest,” BGR proposed a comprehensive set of reforms to rein in the unfettered discretion of elected officials and create a disciplined, rational process in Jefferson Parish.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish’s new law on disclosure of campaign solicitations faces criticism

Oct 24, 2012

The group on Wednesday also renewed its call for the council to adopt recommendations by the Bureau of Governmental Research to limit council members’ discretion in approving no-bid contracts.

Source: Nola.com

Clean up contracting rules: An editorial

Aug 4, 2012

A citizen group is urging Jefferson Parish officials to implement some reforms recommended by the Bureau of Governmental Research, and that’s what the parish should do.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish President says some changes to contract policy already in place

Jul 31, 2012

A group of political activists has called on Jefferson Parish President John Young and Parish Council members to enact some of the recommendations in a Bureau of Governmental Research report that criticized the way the council awards professional services contracts. The BGR report was issued last May.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jeff has revolving door of hospital architects;  Contracting process called into question

Jul 30, 2012

The switch from Murray Architects to Meyer came one month after a watchdog group criticized how Jefferson Parish handles government business. The Bureau of Government Research praised the progress Jefferson has made since accusations of corruption ended former Parish President Aaron Broussard’s administration, but it chastised elected officials for ceding too much discretion to the council to choose contractors for professional service jobs.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish Charter Advisory Board schedules public hearings for input

Jul 12, 2012

One issued raised by the Bureau of Governmental Research is the way professional services contracts are chosen in the parish. These contracts are not awarded based on the lowest bid, and although a committee evaluates each of the proposals, council members have the discretion to choose any company they want.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Inspector General says state not serious about fighting corruption if office cut

May 16, 2012

“It’s the only office whose sole mission is to root out inefficiency and waste in government,” Janet Howard, the CEO of the Bureau of Governmental Research, said.

Source: WWL-TV

Curb pay to play in Jefferson Parish’s contracting: An editorial

May 14, 2012

That has given the parish a reputation for pay-to-play contracting, which hurts taxpayers and erodes confidence in local government. After the Broussard administration scandals and the subsequent federal corruption probe, the Parish Council has made contracting changes. But as the Bureau of Governmental Research outlined in a report last week, council members still enjoy too much discretion to reward political insiders.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Report: Jeff. Parish council’s contract selection process “uniquely vulnerable to abuse”

May 10, 2012

The Bureau of Governmental Research is calling for significant reforms in the Jefferson Parish government contracting process, calling the process “uniquely vulnerable to abuse,” in a report released Thursday.

Source: WWL-TV

Jefferson Parish’s contracting desperately needs reform, watchdog says

May 10, 2012

Despite a litany of reforms after scandal unraveled Aaron Broussard’s administration, the Jefferson Parish Council still has too much authority to award contracts to political insiders, the Bureau of Government Research said Thursday. The non-profit watchdog blasted the latitude that council members wield when choosing which firms get professional service contracts.

Source: The Times-Picayune

City IT director tries to end reliance on contracts

Sep 28, 2011

Janet Howard, president and CEO of the Bureau of Governmental Research, said the city’s “calcified and byzantine” civil service system has hampered the effort further.

Source: CityBusiness

In The News Archives