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BGR In The News

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

Slimming down New Orleans’ court system will require more judicial study, legislative will

Nov 19, 2015

“There could be some real savings for any one judgeship that’s eliminated,” Coco-Ewing said. “So the real call of the report was for the Supreme Court and the Judicial Council to come up with some recommendations, to do that kind of necessary digging down to find out the appropriate size of these courts.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

New Orleans Traffic Court needs someone else watching over the budget: Editorial

Aug 19, 2015

A 2013 Bureau of Governmental Research study concluded the four-judge court could handle its caseload with only 1.2 judges. A previous inspector general report came to essentially the same conclusion.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

New Orleans Traffic Court should hand its keys to City Council, inspector general says

Jul 29, 2015

The inspector general produced a series of reports going back at least 26 years to underscore his point, starting with a 2013 Bureau of Governmental Research study that concluded the four-judge court could handle its caseload with just 1.2 judges.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

New Traffic Court refrain on plea deals: ‘Take your lick, or go to trial’

May 27, 2015

Quatrevaux, Landrieu, the watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research and several New Orleans legislators have argued that it’s time to jettison the local tradition of encouraging motorists to appear in court in person to cut plea deals on routine driving violations.

Source: The Advocate

CONAWAY: A More Accessible and Transparent Judiciary Will Improve the Louisiana Legal Climate

Mar 19, 2015

More recently, the non-profit Bureau of Governmental Research was denied a public records request to state courts for documents related to the work of a legislatively created committee that studied the efficiency of the Louisiana judiciary, but held only two public hearings in three years and ultimately recommended no changes.

Source: LaPolitics.com

James Gill: Traffic Court’s jobs program for slackers

Jan 17, 2015

New Orleans suffers from a glut of judgeships across the board and could abolish 25 of them, saving $14 million a year, without any loss of efficiency, according to the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

Traffic Court clerk moves on, says court should too

Jan 4, 2015

But BGR President Janet Howard said the Legislature has so far “assiduously avoided” doing the kind of analysis needed to trim the local judiciary to the appropriate level, whatever it is. She said that needs to stop.

Source: The Advocate

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

Watchdog group seeking records on court study deliberations

Sep 10, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research wants to know how state Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, and the committee he ran reached its findings earlier this year on the size and efficiency of Louisiana’s judicial branch.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Our Views: New fight over judges

Aug 21, 2014

Judges are essential elements of the court system. But studies by the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research and other groups have focused on the significant disparity between caseloads and judicial positions in parts of the state.

Source: The Advocate

Too many New Orleans judges making too many headlines: James Varney

Aug 14, 2014

Studies by both the Bureau of Governmental Research and the Supreme Court concluded the city would do just fine if its Juvenile Court bench ran but one judge deep.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Elimination of Orleans juvenile judge seat hits a snag, prompting Landrieu administration lawsuit

Aug 11, 2014

A report issued that year by the Bureau of Government Research found that a single judge could handle the Juvenile Court caseload, which has been in decline since the 1980s.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Audit report: N.O. Traffic Court $1.1 million in the red

Jun 26, 2014

“We have taken the position that the traffic and municipal courts should be consolidated to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost, and that the number of judges should be adjusted,” said Janet Howard, president of the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

James Gill: Judicial reform effort seems doomed

Jun 12, 2014

There is no shortage of more pressing needs, and abolishing two judgeships is no more than a step in the right direction. According to studies commissioned by the state Supreme Court and by BGR, New Orleans needs just one juvenile judge.

Source: The Advocate

Final Juvenile Court reduction bill seems to target suspended judge

Jun 4, 2014

Thanks to a steep drop in caseload, Juvenile Court appears to be the most bloated among them, according to an assessment by the Bureau of Governmental Research that used the state courts’ own workload formula. The BGR report, released in September, suggested that the six current Juvenile Court judges may be five too many.

Source: The Advocate

Senate committee revises N.O. court merger bill

May 24, 2014

A Bureau of Governmental Research report has said some $14 million could be saved annually by the elimination of more than half of New Orleans’ court judges.

Source: The Advocate

Louisiana Senate passes measure that could reduce judges in New Orleans

May 19, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research issued a report last year suggesting Orleans Parish had as many as 25 more judges than necessary, and taxpayers could save more than $14 million a year by eliminating unnecessary judgeships.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Traffic court judges rarely on bench?

May 5, 2014

A 2013 report by the Bureau of Governmental Research reached similar conclusions, using a quantitative formula to show that judicial workload in traffic court boils down to enough work for 1.2 judges.

Source: WWL-TV

3-year study of Louisiana’s judiciary concludes more study is needed

Feb 15, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research, a watchdog group that produced a report concluding there is strong evidence that the judiciary is overpopulated, has called for the Legislature to act before new terms begin in the fall.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Judge study may need more time

Jan 24, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research recently angered judges in New Orleans by suggesting the city’s court system is bloated in the wake of the population losses triggered by Hurricane Katrina.

Source: The Advocate

Our Views: Make panel’s work public

Jan 7, 2014

Attorneys acting on behalf of the committee have used specious legal reasoning to defend the shrouding of the committee’s work. We hope that BGR’s suit is handled quickly by the courts, and that the watchdog group succeeds.

Source: The Advocate

Bureau Of Governmental Research Suit Could Further Judicial Reform

Jan 6, 2014

The fear observers like the BGR have is there’s a deliberate slow-walking going on because any changes to the state’s judicial structure would have to occur this legislative session.

Source: The Hayride

Group sues committee studying judges’ workloads

Jan 2, 2014

BGR President Janet Howard has been pushing the committee to do its work in the open and to produce its report on time, with the idea that would give legislators time to weigh its conclusions and take action before fall elections lock in judges for another six years on the bench.

Source: The Advocate

BGR sues state committee assessing judgeships for access to records, meetings

Jan 2, 2014

After issuing a blistering report flagging potential judicial surpluses in Orleans Parish and across the state, a government watchdog organization on Monday filed a lawsuit demanding access to all records and meetings of the state Supreme Court-appointed committee tasked with evaluating possible “unnecessary” judgeships.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Audit: Red ink flowing from N.O. criminal court

Jan 2, 2014

The loss of thousands of marijuana cases and other nonviolent cases has meant lean times for Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, numbers from a recent audit show.

Source: The Advocate

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

State committee studying number of judges needs to be more open, BGR says

Dec 7, 2013

Describing the two-year-old process as “cloaked in secrecy,” a New Orleans watchdog group called Thursday for more transparency from a state commission that is assessing the number of judges needed in Louisiana. The report is the latest salvo in a heated debate over whether the city has too many judges.

Source: The Advocate

N.O. Juvenile Court judges, coroner tell council they need more money

Nov 12, 2013

It has six judges, but a 2010 caseload analysis by the state Supreme Court found that the city has an overall abundance of judges, and that Juvenile Court is the most bloated of all: One juvenile judge is all the city needs, the study found. That finding was echoed by a report this fall by the Bureau of Governmental Research, which also put the proper number of juvenile judges at one.

Source: The Advocate

Traffic Court runoff Nov. 16 as debate over New Orleans judgeships rages on

Nov 7, 2013

And a government watchdog group, the Bureau of Governmental Research, reported that the Judicial Council’s own formula for determining a judgeship’s efficacy showed New Orleans could do without 25 of its judges. That same report also suggested that one judge with a healthy staff could handle the caseload presently split among four part-time Traffic Court judges.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Landrieu: Civil judges’ call for a new courthouse is not in taxpayers’ interest

Nov 5, 2013

What’s more, a controversial Bureau of Governmental Research report suggested the civil court could function more efficiently by cutting its number of judges from 14 to about seven.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Stephanie Grace: Traffic court election is sideshow

Oct 29, 2013

Traffic Court’s practices have come under withering criticism by the city’s inspector general, as well as unwelcome attention from federal law enforcement. It’s also been singled out as overstaffed and overly costly by the Bureau of Governmental Research and Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who wants the Legislature to consolidate some of the city’s courts.

Source: The Advocate

Judges’ plea for more money seems to fall on deaf ears

Oct 29, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research released a report last month suggesting that criminal court, with a dozen judges, may have twice the number it really needs. The Mayor’s Office and the city’s inspector general have joined the call to whittle down the number of judges.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans Traffic Court judges warn annual budget could be unconstitutional

Oct 28, 2013

A recent report by the government watchdog group, the Bureau of Governmental Research, calculated that one or two judges could handle the caseload presently divvied up among four judges. BGR had used the same formula being used by the Judicial Council, the state Supreme Court’s research arm, to assess the viability of courts across the state.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Voters approve charter changes; judge runoffs set

Oct 21, 2013

Supporters of the amendment, such as the Bureau of Governmental Research and the New Orleans Business Council, said they hope the changes will help remove politics from board decisions and make it better prepared to tackle the major challenges facing the water agency.

Source: The Advocate

Jupiter, Smith advance to runoff in New Orleans Traffic Court election

Oct 19, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research, a government watchdog group, has also found evidence that Orleans Parish in general has too many judges and that a single judge could handle the Traffic Court’s caseload. The research arm of the state Supreme Court, the so-called Judicial Council, is due to release a report on the state’s judiciary branch in February.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

JUDGE-MENT DAY Magistrate Judge Race, Sewerage and Water Board on Saturday’s Ballot

Oct 17, 2013

Reed also says he will petition the legislature to broaden the powers and jurisdiction of the position. If these powers could not be expanded, and the city continues to pay a six-figure salary for an hour of work, then Reed said he agrees with the Bureau of Governmental Research, that this judgeship could be eliminated.

Source: NOLA Defender

New Orleans judges, city officials argue over cuts to judiciary

Oct 16, 2013

While the report didn’t call for a culling of judges, it strongly urged the committee and the state Judicial Council to look into what judgeships were “unnecessary” or “surplus.” After the hearing Wednesday, BGR President Janet Howard said the sole purpose of the report was to “right-size” the system.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

N.O. judges take case against cutting the bench to City Hall

Oct 10, 2013

The Mayor’s Office, the city’s inspector general and the Bureau of Governmental Research have all piled on, suggesting — with varying degrees of certainty — the city has too many judges.

Source: The Advocate

BGR report spurs debate over judgeships before state Supreme Court’s Judicial Council

Oct 9, 2013

BGR Executive Director Janet Howard countered that the report only offers a preliminary glance at the issue and admits its own shortcomings. She also noted that BGR’s researchers employed the same methods used by the Judicial Council, the research arm of the state’s high court, when it studied judgeships across the state shortly after Hurricane Katrina.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

New Orleans judges deny there are too many of them

Oct 9, 2013

Last month’s report by the Bureau of Governmental Research was the latest in a long line of studies to suggest cutting back on the city’s judiciary, which numbers 45 judges spread across seven courts.

Source: The Advocate

Three candidates vie for Orleans magistrate judgeship

Oct 7, 2013

A report last month by the Bureau of Governmental Research found that Criminal Court in Orleans Parish has about twice the number of judges it needs. District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s move to ship more than 1,000 misdemeanor cases each year from Criminal Court to Municipal Court has added fodder for critics who say there are far too many judges at Tulane and Broad with too little to do.

Source: The Advocate

Eight candidates seeking Traffic Court judgeship despite its uncertain future

Oct 7, 2013

Meanwhile, studies have piled up indicating that the city needs far fewer Traffic Court judges than the four it currently pays more than $100,000 a year each. Both the city’s Office of Inspector General and the Bureau of Governmental Research have recommended whittling that number down to just one judge, thereby saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Source: The Advocate

Our Views: Cut judges for savings

Sep 22, 2013

While much attention has been focused on the New Orleans court system, a new report from the Bureau of Governmental Research suggests that considerable savings can be found with a hard look at the staffing and workload of courts across Louisiana. The BGR report on “rightsizing the courts” ought to be acted upon by state lawmakers next year.

Source: The Advocate

BGR: Too many N.O. judges

Sep 10, 2013

Local watchdog group The Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) released a report Sept. 3 saying Orleans Parish has up to 25 surplus judges, costing taxpayers $14 million a year.

Source: Gambit

Eliminating Judges

Sep 9, 2013

New Orleans could save $14 million dollars a year by getting rid of more than half our judges. That’s the latest revelation from the Bureau of Governmental Research. But are they too powerful to be eliminated?

Source: WWL radio

WWL radio interview with BGR executive director Janet Howard on Orleans Parish judgeships

Sep 6, 2013

Does N.O. have too many judges? Do you think this is why our court system is always broke and never seems to get things done.

Source: WWL radio

Stephanie Grace: Now’s the time to consider judge staffing

Sep 6, 2013

Deep inside the Bureau of Governmental Research’s new report on New Orleans judgeships is a fine suggestion: Shift the burden of proof from those who want to right-size the city’s plethora of courts to those prefer to keep things as is. Rather than make reformers justify eliminating judgeships, why not ask the courts to demonstrate that they need to remain abundantly staffed?

Source: The Advocate

BGR’s court cuts not likely to gain support

Sep 4, 2013

While the argument to keep judicial posts out of the political realm was lost long ago, a report by the Bureau of Governmental Research published Tuesday wages the war on the efficiency front. It contends just about every Orleans Parish court could do more with less.

Source: CityBusiness

Group seeks big cut in number of Orleans judges

Sep 4, 2013

A New Orleans-based government watchdog group says the city could save $14 million a year by reducing the number of judges in the local court system from 45 to about 20. The report was issued Tuesday by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Associated Press

Report: New Orleans has too many judges

Sep 4, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research says New Orleans courts have more judges than they really need. The 33-page report claims criminal and civil district courts in Orleans Parish each have more than twice the number of judges they need.

Source: WGNO

Orleans Civil Court judge disputes BGR report

Sep 4, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research report cuts little slack. “What it’s showing is in Orleans Parish, there should be 20 judges, but in fact there are 45,” said Janet Howard with the BGR.

Source: FOX 8

Packing the Courts: Report Says NOLA, La. Has Surplus of Judges

Sep 4, 2013

Locals face shortages of police and other justice specialists, but when it comes to judges, there are too many, according to a recent report. The Bureau of Governmental Research says that Louisiana has more judges than necessary to handle the currently declining caseloads, and that Orleans Parish is the biggest offender.

Source: NOLA Defender

It’s time to reduce the number of judges in Orleans Parish

Sep 4, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research, a watchdog group here in New Orleans, says we have more than twice as many judges than we need. The BGR report says Orleans Parish has 45 judges in their 7 courts when 20 are all that’s needed.

Source: WGNO

New Orleans could have as many as 25 surplus judges, BGR report finds

Sep 3, 2013

New Orleans’ taxpayers could save more than $14 million a year by eliminating unnecessary judges in Orleans Parish, according to a report released Tuesday by the Bureau of Governmental Research. The 33-page report found that Orleans Parish has as many as 25 more judges than it needs, based on analysis of each judge’s workload and the number of cases filed in each of the parish’s seven courts.

Source: The Times-Picayune

BGR Report: New Orleans courts bloated with judges

Sep 3, 2013

Some $14 million could be saved by ridding New Orleans courts of more than half their judges, a reduction supported by a formula for estimating workloads for jurists across the state, according to a report released Tuesday by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

Report says Orleans Parish has twice as many judges as it needs

Sep 3, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research used a formula that the research arm of the Louisiana Supreme Court developed to estimate judicial workloads. The BGR report says that formula produced compelling evidence that the seven courts in Orleans Parish have way too many judges: 45 in all, when the Louisiana Judicial Council’s formula indicates only 20 are needed.

Source: WWL-TV

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