NEWS ROUNDUP: Awards all around St. Tammany Parish

By Staff Report

Source: The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate

October 3, 2022

Two St. Tammany Parish residents have been awarded the Bureau of Governmental Research’s prestigious 2022 Excellence in Government Awards that will be presented Oct. 6 to honor the work the pair have done as public employees to improve government in the greater New Orleans area.

Both of the bureau’s Lifetime Achievement Awards, each recognizing sustained performance during a public employee’s career, will be presented to these St. Tammany Parish residents for many years of service: Robert Graham Jr., director of operations of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge, and St. Tammany Parish Chief Financial Officer Leslie Long.

The bureau is also awarding four Merit Awards, two Innovation Awards and a Citizenship Award for work done by individuals or a team in three other parishes and one city in Jefferson Parish.

“The Excellence in Government Awards give BGR the opportunity to shine a light on people whose outstanding efforts have improved the quality of government in our area. As a private organization that pursues the same goal, we appreciate the daily commitment and dedication that it takes,” said Becky Mowbray, president and CEO of the group that annually spotlights efforts by public employees and private citizens to improve government in the region.

The bureau is a private, nonprofit, independent research organization dedicated to informed public policymaking and the effective use of public resources for improved government. Founded in 1932 during the Huey Long era, it has since monitored and analyzed government policies, structures, finances and processes to identify critical issues that require best-practice problem solving. It is governed by citizens and is neither part of, nor controlled by, any government body; it is nonpartisan and does not endorse any candidates for public office.

Several of the honorees are being recognized for their responses to the extraordinary difficulties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ida. In addition, two honorees led improvements in their roles at the New Orleans Police Department and the Sewerage & Water Board, agencies that face significant operational challenges.

“This year’s group of award winners demonstrates how dedication, persistence and a commitment to excellence can lead to positive results even in difficult situations,” Mowbray said. “Individual efforts can make a difference.”

A committee of BGR board members selected the honorees through a competitive process. BGR solicited nominations from government officials and employees and the public in four categories.

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