BGR's core activities include: local government monitoring, analysis and publication of reports, and post-publication work to implement informed public policy. Our 2017 work plan includes the issues of drainage, streets, tax dedications, the RTA, local boards and commissions, and security districts, among others.
Monitoring local government entities allows BGR to stay abreast of new developments, identify new issues and understand the dynamics that affect their decision making, all of which informs our work. BGR's research staff monitors 70 state and local government agencies, including the New Orleans City Council and it committees, the Jefferson Parish Council, the St. Tammany Parish Council, and the Jefferson and Orleans Parish School Boards.
Once the research is completed, BGR pursues the implementation of recommendations, sometimes over the course of many years. It does so by revisiting issues in follow-up publications and through outreach efforts aimed at the public, citizens groups, the media and public officials. The ultimate measure of success is the extent to which BGR's recommendations are adopted, and that is our primary expected outcome. This creates long-lasting benefits as our recommendations are written into policies and law.
Recent policy successes:
* Pension issue uncovered by BGR in 2013 is expected to save taxpayers millions following the 2016 Orleans Civil Court ruling on the firefighters' pension benefit formula.
* Implementation of BGR recommended contracting reforms at the Sewerage & Water Board and the completion of a street condition analysis by the City, a major step in implementing the pavement management system recommended by BGR.
* The Orleans Parish School Board's adopted a key BGR recommendation in reforming its fiscal policy to preserve the bulk of its $45 million operating reserve for the benefit of the system as a whole.
In 2016, BGR earned national recognition by the Governmental Research Agency for the 10th year in a row. Upon receiving our 2016 awards, GRA officials noted that BGR has been for several years among the most prolific award winners in the nation. BGR earned Outstanding Policy Achievement for the report The Accidental Steward: The Orleans Parish School Board as a Resource Manager in the Reform Era and related education efforts, which laid the groundwork for recent reforms to School Board financial management. BGR also won the award for Most Distinguished Research for the report The $1 Billion Question: Do the Tax Dedications in New Orleans Make Sense?, which provides a first-ever comprehensive view of where local tax revenues go.