BGR Wins National Research Awards, Welcomes New Board Member

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Melanie Bronfin

NEW ORLEANS — From the Bureau of Governmental Research:

BGR received two research awards from the Governmental Research Association at a national conference held last month in Philadelphia. In addition, BGR recently welcomed Melanie Bronfin as a new member of its board of directors.

National Awards

BGR received a Certificate of Merit for Distinguished Research on a Local Government Issue for its method of analyzing local tax propositions in its On the Ballot reports. BGR prepares these independent, nonpartisan reports to help voters understand the strengths and weaknesses of important tax proposals and make informed decisions at the polls. The GRA award honored the uniform framework that BGR innovated to apply a consistent, rigorous approach to analyzing the wide range of propositions that local voters have faced, including proposed taxes for education, infrastructure and public safety. BGR probes the quality of the government’s spending plan for the tax revenue, transparency and accountability measures, the appropriateness of the size of the tax and the form of taxation, and the potential benefits the public can expect in return. Each analysis advances BGR’s mission of promoting informed public policy making and the effective use of public resources for the improvement of government in the New Orleans area.

BGR also received a Certificate of Merit for Policy Achievement on a Local Government Issue for its recommendations that informed the 2021 search process for New Orleans’ new inspector general. BGR made its recommendations following the controversial departure of the previous inspector general in October 2020. BGR identified ways to strengthen the quality of the New Orleans Ethics Review Board’s search process and improve future board oversight of the new inspector general. During 2021, the board and the New Orleans City Council implemented BGR’s recommendations relative to the search process. These policy changes increased public transparency and accountability, avoided potential conflicts of interest, and enhanced engagement and diligence by the board itself.

“These awards recognize BGR’s daily work to provide high-quality research to help inform key decisions by the public and policymakers for the future good of our community,” said BGR President and CEO Rebecca Mowbray.

The GRA was established in 1914 as the national organization for governmental research professionals, and it has presented BGR with more than 40 awards since 1998. These awards have recognized BGR’s distinguished research, effective citizen education, distinguished service, research presentation and policy achievements. This is the 15th consecutive award competition in which the GRA has recognized BGR’s work.

New Board Member

In July 2022, BGR welcomed Melanie Bronfin as a new member of the its board of directors. Bronfin is the founder and former executive director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, an independent source of data, research and policy proposals related to young children in Louisiana. She played a key role in reforming Louisiana’s system of early care and education and expanding access for low-income families. Bronfin is currently the president/CEO of Bronfin Policy Strategies. She also won BGR’s Excellence in Government Citizenship Award in 2020.

“We are excited to have Melanie join our board of directors and bring her expertise and perspective to our work,” Mowbray said. “We are grateful for our board’s commitment to BGR’s mission of exploring ways to improve local government in the New Orleans area.”

To learn more about BGR’s board members and their work in the New Orleans area, please visit our website at https://www.bgr.org/about-us/board-of-directors/.

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