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BGR In The News

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

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

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

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

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

St. Tammany officials, residents attend inspector general session

Apr 15, 2013

Elected officials and residents of St. Tammany Parish packed a breakfast meeting Thursday to learn how two neighboring parishes started their inspector general’s offices — a signal that the drive to do so on the north shore is gaining momentum.

New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux and newly hired Jefferson Parish Inspector General David McClintock spoke at the breakfast briefing sponsored by the Bureau of Governmental Research, and both stressed the importance of independence for the office.

Source: The Advocate

St. Tammany officials, residents attend inspector general session

Apr 12, 2013

New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux and newly hired Jefferson Parish Inspector General David McClintock spoke at the breakfast briefing sponsored by the Bureau of Governmental Research, and both stressed the importance of independence for the office.

Source: The Advocate

Area inspectors general weigh-in on idea of IG in St. Tammany

Apr 11, 2013

Source: WWL-TV

Inspectors general from N.O., Jefferson Parish address north shore crowd

Apr 11, 2013

The breakfast gathering was put on by the Bureau of Governmental Research and held at the Courtyard New Orleans Covington/Mandeville.

Source: The Times-Picayune

St. Tammany inspector general will be topic of BGR breakfast

Mar 25, 2013

St. Tammany Parish’s drive to establish an inspector general will be the topic of an April 11 forum sponsored by the Bureau of Governmental Research. New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux and David McClintock, the newly appointed Jefferson Parish inspector general, will be featured speakers.

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

Pittsburgh policies for off-duty police officers’ gigs lax

Mar 11, 2013

Landrieu’s City Council is expected unanimously to support the reforms on April 4, nearly two years after the Bureau of Governmental Research, a New Orleans nonprofit, published its landmark “Moonlighting” report detailing how 30 of the nation’s best municipal departments cleaned up — and how New Orleans might, too.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

St. Tammany coalition formed to push for inspector general

Mar 8, 2013

The organization has established a Facebook page and is planning to meet with the Bureau of Governmental Research in April. It plans to work with state Sen. A.G. Crowe, R-Pearl River, to pass enabling legislation in the legislative session that begins April 8.

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

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

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

Rush to approve New Orleans water rate hike proposal stirs up a hornets’ nest

Dec 4, 2012

Asking for more time to publicly discuss a $583 million proposal that would double average sewer and water rates over the next eight years, Head and the Bureau of Governmental Research want to delay the council’s final vote, scheduled for Thursday.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Stacy Head, BGR concerned about speedy City Council vote on higher water bills

Dec 3, 2012

“The public doesn’t know that the council is considering doubling their rates on Thursday,” BGR Executive Director Janet Howard said. “My recommendation would be that they not act on this Thursday, but have a proper and adequate notice of a hearing” for the public.

Source: The Times-Picayune

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

Council president seeks delay of vote on huge water-rate increase

Dec 3, 2012

“The council should hold a well-publicized public hearing,” Howard said. “The public deserves an opportunity to comment on something that affects them. A deferral request makes all the sense in the world, regardless of what you think about the proposal. There is a transparency problem.”

Source: The Lens

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

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

BGR President & CEO Discusses Items on the Nov. 6 Ballot

Oct 26, 2012

Source: WWL Radio

Election Recommendations

Oct 26, 2012

Too much toll money has been squandered over the years. The Bureau of Governmental Research reported in 2011 that only 19 cents of every dollar in tolls went to maintaining and policing the bridge.

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

What’s on your ballot: early voting begins Tuesday across Louisiana

Oct 22, 2012

he non-partisan groups Council for a Better Louisiana, Public Affairs Research Council and Bureau of Governmental Research have analyzed and taken positions on several of the amendments and all three groups urge voters to study the amendments beforehand to minimize delays at the polls.

Source: WWL-TV

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

Editorial: Inspector General’s office too valuable to eliminate

May 15, 2012

The Bureau of Government Research said the $1.7 million cost to run the IG’s office is a “drop in a $25 billion bucket.”

Source: The Lake Charles American Press

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

Plan to defund Louisiana inspector office incurs watchdog groups’ howls

May 9, 2012

Two public policy research groups this week condemned a move to eliminate the state investigator general’s office in advance of a Louisiana House vote on the state budget. The Public Affairs Research Council and the Bureau of Governmental Research blasted a measure by Rep. Joe Harrison, R-Houma, eliminating its financing from the state’s spending plan for next year.

Source: The Times-Picayune

New Year resolutions for one and for all: An editorial

Jan 1, 2012

We, the Metropolitan Crime Commission, the Bureau of Governmental Research, Citizens for One Greater New Orleans, Women of the Storm, Levees.org and other citizen advocacy groups, promise to continue to hold government officials at all levels accountable for their actions.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Deputies working private, off-duty details pay into fund used by sheriff for questionable discretion

Dec 15, 2011

“After the justice department issued its report, Chief Serpas proposed a plan to reform the NOPD’s detail policies and procedures, and one of the criticisms that is sometimes heard is that it would just shift the detail work to the sheriff’s department,” Janet Howard said. “ And clearly, the reforms should extend to all the law enforcement groups engaged in the practice in the jurisdiction.*

Source: The Lens

Voters to decide whether JP will get inspector general

Oct 13, 2011

Orleans Parish already has one, and now voters in Jefferson Parish will decide if they want one.

Source: WWLTV

Endorsing an inspector general

Oct 12, 2011

The push for an inspector general’s office in Jefferson Parish has garnered a broad base of support among business groups and government watchdogs, including the Bureau of Governmental Research, Parish President John Young said this week.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Public Belt board appointing own members

Aug 10, 2010

Last week, the New Orleans Public Belt’s executive committee met behind closed doors to discuss the future of General Manager Jim Bridger. However, half of the six members on that executive committee were not appointed to the Public Belt Board by the organizations picked to do so by law.

“Well it’s time to go back and change state law,” said Janet Howard, President of the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: Fox 8 News

Editorial: End turmoil in New Orleans inspector general’s office

Sep 20, 2009

The office produced few results under Mr. Cerasoli and even less under Mr. Odom, and New Orleanians expect and need a more active office in the future. For example, the Bureau of Governmental Research, a non-profit private watchdog, has been more productive uncovering government waste and inefficiencies — even though BGR has fewer than a third the staffers and budget of the inspector general’s office.

Source: The Times-Picayune

New top watchdog stands guard

Sep 5, 2009

In his first full day on the job, New Orleans Inspector General Edouard Quatrevaux on Friday vowed to build on the “good foundation” laid by his predecessor, with his first order of business to lay out a plan of attack for improving the efficiency of city government and rooting out corruption.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Council votes for sunshine in city contracting process

Feb 5, 2009

The City Council voted unanimously in favor of 100 percent transparency in city contracting, approving council Vice President Arnie Fielkow’s ordinance to open the city’s professional services contract selection process to the state’s open meetings law with a 7-0 vote.

Source: New Orleans CityBusiness

Mayor Has Power to Let Sunshine In

Jan 19, 2009

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has once again ruled that the New Orleans City Council is within its rights to demand Mayor C. Ray Nagin open the administration’s professional service contract review to public scrutiny.

Source: New Orleans City Business

N.O. Mayor Nagin asks AG to reconsider contract transparency opinion

Nov 17, 2008

Despite Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s Oct. 15 opinion that the City Council is well within its rights to create greater transparency in city contracting by opening the professional services procurement process to Open Meetings Law, Mayor C. Ray Nagin’s administration continues to fight that effort by asking the AG for a reconsideration.

Source: New Orleans CityBusiness

City keeps lid on its process for awarding contracts

Jun 30, 2008

New Orleans City Council members and government watchdogs continue to search for greater transparency in professional services contracts in spite of Mayor C. Ray Nagin’s most recent and comprehensive executive order on the process issued in April.

Source: New Orleans CityBusiness

N.O. ordinance proposal takes on land use, politics

Jun 18, 2008

New Orleans voters already have a chance this fall to approve a City Charter amendment making the inspector general’s office permanent.

Source: Times-Picayune

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