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Coverage of BGR in local, regional, and national media

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

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

Term limits overwhelmingly approved for St. Tammany Parish Council

Mar 5, 2016

The private Bureau of Governmental Research supported the proposition, calling it a “a step in the right direction” even though it is not in line with the two-term limits imposed on most other New Orleans area parish councils.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Villere for Mandeville mayor; ‘yes’ on Parish Council term limits: Editorial

Feb 24, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research laid out the case for change: “Proponents say the proposed term limits are necessary to bring in new council members with fresh ideas. They say term limits prevent incumbents from amassing enough power through patronage, favors and campaign contributions to remain in office indefinitely.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Term limits finally coming before St. Tammany voters

Feb 23, 2016

While the Concerned Citizens group opposes the measure, the independent non-profit Bureau of Governmental Research supports it. It called the ballot proposal “a step in the right direction” even though it is not in line with the two-term limits imposed on most other New Orleans area councils.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Citizen group protesting St. Tammany term limit proposition

Feb 18, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research is encouraging voters to vote yes at the polls saying, “While the proposed three-term limit is not in line with the shorter two-term limits for most parish councils in the metro area, it is a step in the right direction. The proposed 12-year limit provides council members with more than enough time to make their contributions.”

Source: WDSU

St. Tammany DA rails against charter change

Nov 15, 2015

BGR said the amendment would eliminate potential conflicts that could arise from the current requirement that the parish president and council use the district attorney as their legal adviser.

Source: The Advocate

Chamber Connection: Important issues on the ballot

Nov 11, 2015

As stated by the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR), “while mandatory periodic review of the charter is important, the proposed amendment could undermine the integrity of future charter amendment efforts because the proposed charter advisory committee would lack independence from the Parish Council.”

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

9 proposed home rule charter changes await St. Tammany voters on Nov. 21 ballot

Nov 10, 2015

While current personnel ordinances require the hiring of qualified candidates and merit-based appointments and promotions, the Parish Council could change those provisions by amending the ordinances, BGR said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Our recommendations on St. Tammany charter changes: Editorial

Nov 6, 2015

In addition, BGR notes, requiring the executive and legislative branches of government to use essentially the same lawyer can be a problem. They each may need independent advice about each other.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

St. Tammany Parish Council rejects call for popular vote on term limits

Jun 5, 2015

A ballot item that calls for the Parish Council to appoint one or more attorneys, one of whom will serve as its legal adviser, and for the parish president to appoint an executive counsel passed unanimously. Stefancik said that change has been recommended in the past, including by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

Jefferson Parish voters approve 6 charter changes, reject 5

Dec 8, 2014

Work on the ballot’s 11 amendments had been underway since 2011, due to a requirement that an advisory committee review the parish’s governing document every decade. The results of that review mostly generated little controversy, though the Bureau of Governmental Research, a nonpartisan watchdog group, came out against a few of them.

Source: The Advocate

The New Orleans Advocate voter guide

Dec 4, 2014

We agree with the Bureau of Governmental Research: “With new and renovated schools coming online, the need for regular repair and replacement of New Orleans’ school facilities is growing once again. The tax proposition would go a long way toward avoiding past practices of neglect and ensuring that school buildings are preserved for generations of students to come.”

Source: The Advocate

Jefferson Parish voters to decide a slew of charter propositions

Dec 2, 2014

“We’re for it because he’s running a big parish government and we think it’s an appropriate limitation,” said Janet Howard with the Bureau of Governmental Research that studied each of the proposed charter changes.

Source: FOX 8

Jefferson voters to decide on numerous changes to parish charter

Dec 1, 2014

The results of that study mostly have generated little controversy, though the Bureau of Governmental Research, a nonpartisan watchdog group, has come out against a few of the final recommendations.

Source: The Advocate

Jefferson Parish Charter Proposition 10 would lock away hospital lease proceeds

Nov 21, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research found Proposition 10 too restrictive. Preserving one-time windfalls is a good idea, but locking away the entire principal could prevent necessary capital spending, Executive Director Janet Howard said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Our Views: Long list for voters

Nov 21, 2014

In any case, it’s a long list, and we encourage voters to consult the invaluable guide to them by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

Our recommendations on Jefferson charter propositions on the Dec. 6 ballot: Editorial

Nov 21, 2014

This amendment would remove “unnecessary subjectivity” from the provision governing Parish Council investigations, according to an analysis by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish Charter Proposition 6 brings the Parish Attorney’s Office up to date

Nov 20, 2014

However, the Bureau of Governmental Research questioned the change in its report on Proposition 5, and noted that if one proposition passes but the other fails, the parish will be left with a discrepancy in the charter.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish Charter Proposition 5 would overhaul personnel system

Nov 19, 2014

However, the Bureau of Governmental Research did not see the vision of an in-house law firm as a meaningful reason to declassify the positions and did not see the change as a matter of clarification.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Opinion: Prepare for election overtime

Nov 19, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research has issued a thorough report that covers all of the Dec. 6 proposals in Jefferson and Orleans parishes. It includes their position on several of the items, which CityBusiness does not necessarily endorse.

Source: CityBusiness

Jefferson Parish Charter Proposition 3 would shorten time between introduction, vote on ordinances

Nov 18, 2014

“Once the minimum time period is eliminated, the door is opened to giving the public very short notice – even less than a day,” the Bureau of Governmental Research said in a report opposing Proposition 3. “The could seriously affect the public’s ability to absorb and respond to proposed ordinances.”

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish Charter Proposition 1 would modestly restrain council’s investigative power

Nov 17, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research supports Proposition 1. The non-profit public policy organization says it would “remove unnecessary subjectivity from the council’s investigatory powers.”

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

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

Levee authority’s tied vote Thursday means lawsuit against energy companies is still alive

Jun 19, 2014

Janet Howard, executive director of the New Orleans-based Bureau of Governmental Research, said that organization has not taken a position on the merits of the lawsuit itself. But she urged the authority not to take any action that would remove its ability to press claims for damage in the future.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jindal postpones signing bill that would have killed lawsuit against oil companies

Jun 2, 2014

Last week, the Bureau of Governmental Research questioned if Senate Bill 469 would leave the state in a weaker position to make claims, particularly claims for ongoing costs of operation and maintenance of the levee systems.

Source: WWL-TV

Building a Better School Board

Jun 2, 2014

Such a trend developed in the mid-1980s to diversify the makeup of boards, a 2010 Bureau of Governmental Research study says. The BGR study says that New Orleans transitioned from an at-large elected board in ’87 to a board of five-district and two at-large members.

Source: New Orleans Magazine

Senate Bill 469 shouldn’t get Gov. Jindal’s signature: Editorial

Jun 1, 2014

SB 469 prohibits not only the two Southeast Louisiana flood protection authorities, but parish governments and other agencies from suing for negligence, strict liability or other causes of action for damage to levees or coastal lands, according to an analysis by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Russel Honore oped in The Times, BGR letter argue against SB 469

May 29, 2014

Also this week, the Bureau of Governmental Research in New Orleans sent a letter to legislators raising numerous concerns about SB 469 and calling on them to rethink the legislation.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Lives depend on flood authority independence: Editorial

May 16, 2014

BGR also is worried about the authorities’ independence. SB 553 would let the governor block legal actions he doesn’t like and control which lawyers get hired — and which don’t, BGR said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR opposes levee boards’ restriction

May 16, 2014

BGR said the requirement would interfere with the independence of the levee boards and increase the risk of political interference.

Source: The Advocate

Legislature should protect Southeast Louisiana residents, keep levee reforms in place: Editorial

May 4, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research in New Orleans and the Baton Rouge-based Council for a Better Louisiana have criticized Senate Bill 79 for allowing the governor to unilaterally remove flood authority board members.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish Council opposes Sen. Robert Adley’s levee board bills

May 2, 2014

Adley amended the bill to eliminate violations of “public policy” as grounds for removing a board member. That provision had been a particular sore point for the Bureau of Governmental Research and others who said it was too vague of a mandate.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Mayor Landrieu nominates new slate of water board members

May 1, 2014

Good government groups like the Bureau of Governmental Research had been pushing for the change in order to strip politics out of board decisions.

Source: The Advocate

How to Design a School Board

May 1, 2014

As the BGR and Cowen Institute said in 2010, “There is no perfect solution for school governance in New Orleans. But one thing is clear: We can and must improve upon past governance structures.”

Source: New Orleans Magazine

Bills to scuttle ‘Big Oil’ suit progress, but lawsuits may continue: Analysis

Apr 27, 2014

“The governor would effectively serve as the prosecutor, judge and jury,” according to an analysis by the New Orleans-based watchdog group Bureau of Governmental Research. It noted that the bill provides no opportunity for a member targeted by the governor to put up a defense.

Source: The Associated Press

Jefferson Chamber condemns efforts to put governor in control of levee boards

Apr 25, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research this week slammed the bill for “allowing a governor to unilaterally remove board members on grounds as vague as public policy.”

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR denounces levee board bill

Apr 23, 2014

A New Orleans-based government research group on Tuesday called for rejection of legislation that would give Gov. Bobby Jindal sweeping authority to remove members of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority.

Source: The Advocate

Stephanie Grace: Bill eliminates board’s independence

Apr 22, 2014

Various witnesses rang the alarm bells, arguing that the term “public policy” is “kind of squishy,” as Bureau of Governmental Research President Janet Howard put it, and that the measure would absolutely politicize the board.

Source: The Advocate

Bureau of Governmental Research still opposes amended bill that gives governor power to remove levee

Apr 22, 2014

The New Orleans-based Bureau of Governmental Research said Tuesday that it remains opposed to a bill proposed by state Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, that has been amended to give the governor new authority to remove board members of regional New Orleans levee authorities from office.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Rewritten flood authority bill gives Jindal more power

Apr 19, 2014

Bureau of Governmental Research president and CEO Janet Howard said the term public policy “is always kind of squishy.”

Source: The Advocate

BGR criticizes effort to change levee board nominations

Apr 2, 2014

A bill up for consideration by the Legislature would threaten reforms aimed at professionalizing New Orleans area levee boards that long were filled with “sometimes ill-qualified political appointees,” according to a commentary the Bureau of Governmental Research issued Tuesday.

Source: The Advocate

Watchdog opposes bill giving governor more power choosing levee boards

Apr 1, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research has come out against a Senate bill that would give the governor more leeway to choose members of The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority. BGR points out that the state went to great pains to remove politics from authority over flood control after Katrina and created two independent levee boards

Source: WWL-TV

Bureau of Governmental Research opposes Senate bill that would give governor more power in selecting

Apr 1, 2014

The New Orleans-based Bureau of Governmental Research has turned thumbs down on a proposed state senate bill that would give Gov. Bobby Jindal more control over the selection of members of the east bank and West Bank levee authorities. BGR said the bill reverses reforms meant to professionalize the two authorities and remove them from political control.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

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

Our Views: An abuse of the rules

Jan 16, 2014

In last month’s talk to the Bureau of Governmental Research, veteran journalist Steve Roberts reminded New Orleans listeners about redistricting. Political abuse of the process is a cause of the thinning of the ranks of conservative southern Democrats and progressive northern Republicans.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans’ Sewerage & Water Board needs dedicated, skilled board members: Editorial

Jan 8, 2014

As the Bureau of Governmental Research put it last week in an appeal to the public, “To reinvigorate the agency, some of the city’s sharpest minds and most effective leaders must offer to serve.”

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Refusal to return charter schools to OPSB sign of distrust of locally elected boards

Dec 20, 2013

There have been multiple calls in recent years to restructure the Orleans Parish School Board. The nonprofit think tank Bureau of Governmental Research and Tulane University’s Cowen Institute have proposed several options.

Source: The Lens

Mayor Landrieu deputy will lead city water agency

Dec 19, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research called for the search process to be put off until the new board is seated, a position reiterated Wednesday by City Councilwoman Stacy Head, who sits on the board.

Source: The Advocate

BGR speaker decries excessive partisanship in Washington

Dec 12, 2013

BGR also announced three new board members on Wednesday. They are Laitram executive Nathalie Simon, Stirling Properties CEO Martin Mayer and civic activist Caroline Zetzmann Calhoun.

Source: The Advocate

Columnist Steven Roberts laments the extinction of the political center: Jarvis DeBerry

Dec 11, 2013

Steven Roberts, who writes a syndicated column with his wife Cokie that appears in The Times-Picayune, told a group gathered for the annual luncheon of the Bureau of Governmental Research that America is suffering the steady disappearance of centrist politicians.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

N.O. S&WB search for top executive turns inward

Dec 1, 2013

Several people and organizations that monitor the board’s activities, including Councilwoman Stacy Head and the watchdog group Bureau of Governmental Research, have asked that the appointment be delayed until the new board is in place. But the search committee has continued to look to replace St. Martin as soon as possible.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant, S&WB top staff among applicants for water board executive director

Nov 5, 2013

The government watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research has asked the S&WB to delay its choice until the new board members are appointed, considering the new director must report to them. So far, BGR’s request has fallen on deaf ears.

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

N.O. voters approve Sewerage & Water Board reforms

Oct 19, 2013

The S&WB reform package, supported by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, did draw attention, with a media blitz by supporters of the reforms, including the Business Council and other civic groups. The Bureau of Governmental Research also backed the plan.

Source: WWL-TV

Major changes to Sewerage & Water Board on Saturday’s ballot

Oct 16, 2013

“The infrastructure has been in terrible condition. There’s huge investment coming this way,” said Janet Howard with the Bureau of Governmental Research. Howard said as Orleans Parish gears up to spend billions of dollars to improve its sewerage and water systems, how the board is governed also needs to be revamped.

Source: WWL-TV

New Orleans S&WB City Charter change attracts political opposition

Oct 11, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research, a non-partisan watchdog group, and the New Orleans Business Council have both thrown their support behind the changes. “The charter amendment, and the companion legislation that would take effect if it passes, present a critical opportunity for New Orleanians to reduce political influence on the S&WB’s board, establish a process for vetting future board members and make the board more accountable,” BGR said in a statement.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Voters to decide S&WB overhaul

Oct 8, 2013

Soon, voters will decide whether the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board should be overhauled. “It’s overly politicized,” said Janet Howard, president of the Bureau of Governmental Research.“Right now, we have a mayor and three council members on the board.”

Source: FOX 8

Orleans voters will decide Oct. 19 on two City Charter amendments

Oct 7, 2013

The nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research, which has been critical of the water board’s past governance practices, has endorsed the charter amendment, saying it “would lay the foundation” for creating a “well-qualified, high-functioning board” that could tackle the major challenges facing the water board.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans firefighters oust leadership of long-troubled pension fund

Sep 4, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research, a government watchdog group, found last year that the fund had been earning only 2 percent returns on its investments, far below its 7.5 percent assumed annual rate.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

New Orleans S&WB hires search firm; on track to hire new chief executive by end of 2013

Aug 21, 2013

The New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board stayed true Wednesday to a promise from its president, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, that the search for a new executive director will go on despite the reservations of a government watchdog group, the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR urges water board to delay director search

Aug 21, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research sent out a letter Tuesday urging the Sewerage & Water Board to delay its search for a new executive director until after city residents vote on a charter amendment that could result in a new board being seated by January.

Source: The Advocate

Orleans Parish School Board president drops fight to oust interim superintendent

Aug 20, 2013

Janet Howard, president of the Bureau of Governmental Research, said the budget highlighted continuing deficiencies in the district’s record-keeping. It’s not possible to see exactly how the School Board manages money for charters and the Recovery School District, or how much for each of the five directly run schools.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

One month before citizens vote to change board, SW&B board could choose new director

Aug 20, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research is urging the Orleans Parish Sewerage & Water Board to delay its search for a new executive director. The group is arguing that it makes no sense for the current board, which may not be in place much longer, to hire the new director.

Source: WWL-TV

BGR wants delay in search for Sewerage and Water Board leader

Aug 20, 2013

BGR notes that a vote in October could shake up the way the board is put together. Therefore, it wants the selection process to be put on hold until after the vote.

Source: FOX 8

BGR: the New Orleans S&WB should delay its search for a new executive director

Aug 20, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research advised that the water board wait until New Orleans voters rule on the reforms that will appear on the Oct. 19 special election ballot before selecting a successor to outgoing Executive Director Marcia St. Martin.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Our Views: Don’t accept ‘new normal’

Jun 16, 2013

The acrimony between Landrieu and Gusman underscores the need for objective analysis, and that’s where institutions such as the Inspector General’s Office and the Bureau of Governmental Research can play important roles.

Source: The Advocate

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

Da winnas & da loozas

Jun 7, 2013

The final S&WB reform bill more closely resembles the recommendations of the Bureau of Governmental Research than the bill Landrieu pushed.

Source: Gambit Weekly

Sewerage and Water Board overhaul approved by Legislature, not exactly as Landrieu envisioned

Jun 6, 2013

At one point in the Legislative process, the bill would have allowed (the mayor) to reject the list of nominations made by that council. But that element, which was opposed by the Bureau of Governmental Research, was eliminated in the final bill.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Task force on Tammany inspector general draws mixed reviews

Jun 5, 2013

A recent Bureau of Governmental Research briefing on how to create an inspector general’s office, held in Covington, drew a packed house.

Source: The Advocate

Louisiana Senate approves bills to help New Orleans rein in firefighters’ pension costs

May 30, 2013

In 2000, the City Council invested $171 million in bond proceeds to shore up the pension fund, but the market tanked and the fund was saddled with the debt. BGR President Janet Howard said the proposed changes “are little steps right now, but the huge problem is going to remain,” referring to that debt. “Obviously, increasing contribution rates helps, but you’ve got a mammoth problem to deal with,” Howard said.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Firefighters disability pension costing city millions

May 25, 2013

BGR President Janet Howard called the firefighters’ pension situation “a debacle.”

Source: WWL-TV

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

N.O. firefighter pension fund worries La. Sen. committee as it passes compromise package of changes

May 20, 2013

The package headed to the Senate, largely crafted by New Orleans Democrat Rep. Jeff Arnold, makes tweaks to the fund’s board that are much less dramatic than those sought by the Landrieu administration and others, including the Bureau of Governmental Research, a nonpartisan think tank. Both those groups have argued for putting the fund under the city’s control, something Arnold has argued would allow city officials to control both sides of the debate over how much New Orleans owes to the fund.

Source: The Times-Picayune

House panel clears new hotel fee

May 15, 2013

“It’s a tax on tourists that will consume a portion of the tax capacity of the city,” said Janet Howard, president of the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans hotels could impose fee on themselves under bill passing House committee

May 15, 2013

Opponents said marketing was far down on a list of concerns facing residents of the city and the French Quarter in particular. Janet Howard, president and chief executive of the non-partisan Bureau of Governmental Research, said New Orleans faces $45 million in liabilities from its pension plan for firefighters, consent decrees and other issues that are more important.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Garland Robinette speaks with BGR’s Peter Reichard about pension funds

May 15, 2013

Source: WWL

New Orleans firefighter pension changes pass Louisiana House

May 14, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research argued that putting city in charge would have been an important step in getting the pension fund back on track, and supported New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s effort. “The bill will not get the city out of its current dilemma, but it offers hope for stopping the bleeding,” the group said in a report released last month.

Source: The Times-Picayune

New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board looking down the road at a new drainage fee

May 13, 2013

Raftelis has been analyzing the water board’s policies and plans for various stakeholders for more than a decade. The Bureau of Governmental Research, a private watchdog group that has been advising the S&WB about reforming its governance structure, hired the firm in 2002 to review ill-fated plans to privatize the S&WB.

Source: The Times-Picayune

New Orleans firefighter pensions need full reform: Editorial

May 8, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research, which has analyzed the pension structure and the various bills filed to revise the system, says giving the city control is the best “hope for stopping the bleeding.” Allowing the City Council to create a new pension system that absorbs the old one “offers an opportunity to create a governing board that better balances the interests of the city’s taxpayers and firefighters, and to dial back the system’s excessively generous benefit structure,” BGR said in a report last week.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Amendments to S&WB reform package cut mayoral veto, add New Orleans City Council appointees

May 8, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research, a watchdog group that advised the mayor and the S&WB on the reforms, objected to the veto clause last month, expressing concern that it would give the mayor the ability to pack the board with hand-picked members.

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

Bid to turn firefighters’ pension system over to city of New Orleans fails in La. House committee

May 2, 2013

Bringing the pension fund under the city’s control was the focus of a report released earlier this week by the Bureau of Governmental Research, a non-profit think tank.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Lee Zurik Investigation: ‘Playing With Fire’ prompts legislative backlash

May 2, 2013

This week, the non-profit group Bureau of Governmental Research came out in support of the bill that would hand over control to the city.

Source: Fox 8

Lawmakers should let the city oversee New Orleans firefighter pensions: Editorial

May 2, 2013

With competing legislation pending on New Orleans firefighter retirement benefits, the Bureau of Governmental Research is calling on lawmakers to give the city control over the troubled pension system. That is what House Bill 52 sponsored by Rep. Kevin Pearson would accomplish. The bill would allow the City Council to establish a new firefighter retirement system that would assume the assets of the current system. The city could create a new governing board, increase the amount firefighters pay toward their retirement and start to rein in expenses

The House Retirement Committee, which has HB52 on its agenda for Thursday (May 2), ought to approve it and send the legislation to the full House.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Tension over the firefighter pension

May 1, 2013

Source: WWL-TV

BGR Worries About Mayor’s Veto On Sewerage Board Reforms

Apr 30, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research is backing most of the mayor’s effort to reform the sewer and water board.

But not the veto power.

Source: WWNO

Watchdog urges state lawmakers to bring New Orleans’ firefighters’ pension fund under local control

Apr 30, 2013

A government watchdog group is calling on state lawmakers to pass legislation that would bring the city’s beleaguered pension fund for firefighters under local control.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Reform bill doesn’t go far enough to curb political power over S&WB, BGR says

Apr 26, 2013

As the Legislature takes up long-awaited changes meant to attenuate political influence on the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board, one government watchdog group said the changes don’t go far enough.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Orleans Parish School Board fails to properly track money shared with RSD, report finds

Apr 25, 2013

The Orleans Parish School Board is not properly accounting for the money it shares with the Recovery School District, resulting in $2.1 million misspent in fiscal year 2011, according to a report released Thursday (April 25) by the Bureau of Governmental Research. The report recommends that the board change its bookkeeping procedures to clearly track shared revenues and costs.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Report sees improvement, challenges for Orleans board

Apr 25, 2013

While the Orleans Parish School Board’s finances have dramatically improved since Hurricane Katrina, it still faces significant challenges, according to a Bureau of Governmental Research report released Thursday.

Source: The Advocate

Strengths, flaws found in Orleans school finances

Apr 25, 2013

A New Orleans-based government watchdog group says the school system in New Orleans has significantly improved its financial operations in the years since Hurricane Katrina shut down the city’s public education system for months.

Source: The Associated Press

Gusman: “Root cause” of conditions at OPP is inadequate funding

Apr 24, 2013

Back then, the city retained an expert to determine an appropriate rate. The city never revealed the results of that report, the sheriff’s office claims, but it somehow appeared in an analysis by the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR), which Gusman submits as an exhibit. The expert, BGR claims, recommended $22.54, 15 cents higher than the current per inmate, per day rate._

Source: Gambit

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