In The News › Jefferson Parish

Coverage of BGR in local, regional, and national media

BGR In The News

$9.8 million in property taxes up for renewal to fund Jefferson Parish bus service

Sep 28, 2017

Parish administrators told the Bureau of Governmental Research they plan to budget $13.2 million a year from the surplus for 11 years to build sidewalks and curb cuts at many of the estimated 1,000 regular bus stops that now lack sufficient wheelchair access.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

New River Ridge-area fire millage, parishwide library tax renewal on Saturday ballot

Apr 27, 2017

BGR reported the system has kept its growth in operating costs “at a modest 3.1 percent” a year and has avoided borrowing for its capital improvements, with $38 million available in that fund.

Source: The Advocate

Our Views: Support Orleans, Jeff taxes

Dec 10, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that studies public policy issues in the New Orleans area, has endorsed all of the taxes.

Source: The Advocate

Jefferson Parish 1-cent sales tax in voters’ hands Saturday

Dec 8, 2016

Should the tax not be renewed, the Bureau of Governmental Research said, Jefferson would have to “scale back” its capital investment plans, effectively delaying many of the projects.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish recreation tax up for voters’ decision Saturday

Dec 7, 2016

Should the tax not be renewed, the Bureau of Governmental Research said, Jefferson “would force widespread closures” of several parks and playgrounds.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Avondale Shipyard, public transportation seen as challenges for Jefferson

Dec 6, 2016

Finding a new use for Avondale Shipyard and improving public transportation are two of the most significant challenges that Jefferson Parish must address, President Jerry Bologna of the Jefferson Economic Development Commission President said Tuesday (Dec. 6). His comments came at a Bureau of Governmental Research breakfast in Metairie.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish tax renewal for drainage on Dec. 10 ballot

Dec 5, 2016

Should the tax not be renewed, the Bureau of Governmental Research said, Jefferson would have to make “severe cuts” in other services to maintain drainage at current levels.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Early voting begins Saturday for December election

Nov 25, 2016

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

Source: WWL-TV

‘Yes’ on Jefferson Parish school tax renewal: Editorial

Nov 23, 2016

“The school system struggles to keep up with the mounting maintenance and repair needs of its aging facilities – the average school building is 52 years old. Without the millage, its capacity to address facility needs could diminish,” BGR said

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

‘Yes’ on Jefferson Parish sales, drainage and recreation tax renewals: Editorial

Nov 23, 2016

Renewing the tax now would allow the parish to refinance existing sales tax bonds and finance new road and sewer construction projects, according to the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Bureau of Governmental Research Backs Millage/Tax Renewals on December Ballot

Nov 18, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) throws its support behind millages and a 1% sales tax renewal on the December 10th ballot. At that time voters will decide whether to renew a millage for Drainage and Recreation, also renewals for a 1% Sales Tax and a Jefferson Parish School Property Tax.

Source: Jefferson Parish

4 Jefferson Parish tax renewals backed by independent non-profit

Nov 17, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research called the sales tax a “core funding source” for local government for more than three decades. “Renewal of the sales tax would enable the parish to finance much-needed road and sewerage improvements on both sides of the Mississippi River,” the agency said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR urges changes to New Orleans area public pension plans to control costs

Oct 20, 2016

In New Orleans, which is hampered by the outsized tab to cover its struggling firefighters’ retirement plan, the city will spend nearly $106 million on pension costs in 2016, the report said, which eats up 16 cents of every $1 in the city’s general fund.

Source: The Advocate

Jefferson hotels to begin charging an extra 1 percent to help boost tourism

Aug 11, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research, a local nonpartisan think tank, opposed the self-assessment by New Orleans hotels, saying such surcharges diminish the ability of governments to propose their own taxes to generate revenue.

Source: The Advocate

Kazem Alikhani, Jefferson Parish public works director, retiring

Jul 14, 2016

In giving him one of its Excellence in Govermment awards in 2012, the Bureau of Governmental Research said Alikhani had guided the construction of more than 70 major drainage projects, overseen the armoring of pumping stations and the installation of safe rooms to shelter pump personnel during major storms, developed Jefferson’s first master plan for drainage and begun implementing a 20-year, $1 billion program to expand drainage capacity in Jefferson’s neighborhoods.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR honors officials, citizens for good work

May 15, 2016

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

Source: The Advocate

West Bank flood protection authority defends itself against questions about spending

Nov 18, 2015

The SLFPA-W noted that the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors, the Home Builders Association of Greater New Orleans, Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region, the Bureau of Governmental Research and the leaders of Gretna and Westwego all have endorsed the millage request.

Source: The Advocate

Letters: Passage of West Bank millages crucial for hurricane protection

Nov 16, 2015

Residents of the West Bank: This proposal is a big deal. We need to support it. The New Orleans Advocate, BGR, the homebuilders and real estate agents have endorsed it. It is up to us now.

Source: The Advocate

$5.5 million tax hike for flood protection on West Jefferson ballot

Nov 13, 2015

Both the West Jefferson and Algiers measures have support from the Bureau of Governmental Research. “Should voters reject the millage, maintenance of levees and infrastructure will suffer and levee improvements will go unfunded, increasing the risk of flooding and likely resulting in higher flood insurance rates,’‘ the non-profit watchdog said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Levee taxes are essential to keeping us safe from storms: Editorial

Nov 4, 2015

The West Jefferson district has $13.9 million on hand to pay to lift the levees, but needs the new tax to cover the rest, BGR said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR backs West Bank flood protection tax measures

Nov 3, 2015

BGR said the agency’s obligations “have increased dramatically’‘ since Hurricane Katrina. They include oversight of three drainage pumping stations, including the world’s largest in Plaquemines Parish, and raising and fortifying subsiding levees.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish just received $200 million; what happens now?

Oct 1, 2015

Some observers, including the Bureau of Governmental Research, said the proposition was too restrictive. It ultimately failed at the polls, receiving only 47 percent of the vote.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Metairie development district would control $1.2 million fund

Mar 3, 2015

But focusing public assets in a single area has drawbacks, according to a 2008 report by a government watchdog on special tax districts in Jefferson Parish. The Bureau of Governmental Research found that a special district can redirect public money away from more urgent needs, and that even if districts are successful, they can still have a negative effect on the parish overall.

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

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

BGR recognizes Mike Teachworth’s effort to eliminate Crescent City Connection tolls

Oct 23, 2014

“The honorees have distinguished themselves by their outstanding performance and creative problem-solving to greatly improve government for the citizens of the Greater New Orleans area,” J. Kelly Duncan, BGR board chairman, said in a news release.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

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

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

What’s on the Jefferson Parish ballot on May 3?

Apr 23, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research said at the time that the propositions would create “a more equitable distribution of the tax burden for the criminal justice system” by including municipalities in the burden of supporting the criminal justice system.

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

Jefferson hotels considering new tax to boost tourism

Feb 17, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research, a nonpartisan think tank in New Orleans, also came out against the proposal, arguing that levying a new hotel tax would make it more difficult to pass other, more general tax measures to fund city services or obligations.

Source: The Advocate

Martiny’s bill could result in new charges for Jefferson Parish hotel guests

Feb 11, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research, among others, criticized the New Orleans-focused law on multiple fronts. The surcharge is effectively a tax lacking oversight by local elected officials, and the decision to apply it to tourism marketing is “being made in a vacuum,” BGR said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

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

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

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

Jefferson renews property taxes for schools, sewerage, water

Oct 19, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research reports that a homestead-exempt homeowner with a property valued at $150,000 pays $52.50 annually in property taxes for Jefferson schools, $26.55 for water and $26.85 for sewers.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Greater New Orleans Republicans endorse Jefferson Parish property taxes for water, sewerage

Oct 17, 2013

If the millages are not approved on Oct. 19, they will expire at the end of next year. Along with GNOR, the Bureau of Governmental Research and local civic and business groups have voiced support of the millage rates.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Election recommendations

Oct 15, 2013

“Eliminating the examiner boards is part of the mayor’s plan to streamline government by eliminating defunct boards and combining others that have overlapping or related responsibilities,” says BGR, which supports the amendment.

Source: Gambit

In Jefferson Parish, water, sewer and school taxes are essential: Editorial

Oct 6, 2013

As BGR pointed out in its analysis, the percentage of Jefferson students in D- or F-graded schools has fallen from 65 percent in 2011 to 27 percent this year. Half of the parish’s 80 public schools have improved by a letter grade, and the number of schools with A or B ratings has doubled in two years, BGR said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Business groups support Jefferson Parish tax renewals

Oct 4, 2013

The groups’ support comes on top of an endorsement by the Bureau of Governmental Research earlier this week and a strong public campaign on behalf of the property tax extensions by both the parish government and the parish School Board.

Source: The Advocate

Watchdog group recommends JP voters renew taxes they already voted against

Sep 30, 2013

Monday, the independent budget watchdog group, Bureau of Governmental Research released a study providing an analysis for why voters should support both propositions.

Source: WWL-TV

Kenner public works director receives BGR lifetime achievement award

Sep 24, 2013

Kenner Public Works Director Jose Gonzalez received a lifetime achievement award Tuesday at the Bureau of Governmental Research’s Excellence in Government Awards luncheon. The non-profit public policy research organization recognized Gonzalez for his 32-year career, most of which he spent working in Jefferson Parish government, including as chief engineer and public works director.

Source: NOLA.com | 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

Lee Zurik Investigation: The retirement plan so good, it may be illegal

May 16, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research has been looking into public pension systems all over the area. They found a few others where the employer contributed the employee’s retirement contribution.

Source: Fox 8

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

Opinion: Voters should tank CCC tolls

Apr 26, 2013

A report from the Bureau of Governmental Research, stating its opposition to the toll renewal in the November election, noted that just 19 cents of every dollar collected in tolls goes toward bridge operations.

Source: CityBusiness

With Crescent City Connection election pending, BGR re-releases report against measure

Apr 23, 2013

With early voting for the May 4 election underway, the Bureau of Governmental Research again has released its report from last year opposing tolls on the Crescent City Connection. The nonprofit makes no changes from its August examination that recommends voters in New Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes vote against the measure that would keep tolls on the bridge for 20 years.

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

Kill the CCC tolls once and for all: James Varney

Apr 20, 2013

Indeed, it was those clear arguments against the tolls that led the Bureau of Governmental Research – not some wild-eyed anti-tax outfit – to conclude the toll continuation should have gone down to defeat last November. As the BGR report highlighted, only 19 cents of every toll dollar goes to keeping the Crescent City Connection running.

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

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

Apr 11, 2013

Source: WWL-TV

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

No tolls to cross the Crescent City Connection: Editorial

Mar 8, 2013

When the tolls were put in place, residents were promised all sorts of improvements that never materialized. The Bureau of Governmental Research reported in 2011 that only 19 cents of every dollar in tolls went to maintaining and policing the bridge. Almost as much — 16 cents — went to collecting and administering the tolls. That is absurd.

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

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

Our Views: CABL marks 50th birthday

Jan 13, 2013

In this season of New Year’s resolutions, we urge readers to consider a pledge for the 2013. In the coming months, resolve to get involved in groups such as CABL, the Council for a Better Louisiana, the New Orleans-based Bureau of Governmental Research and other public policy groups in Louisiana.

Source: The Advocate

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

In The News Archives