Local government has been at the heart of CGR since our origin in 1915, when George Eastman founded a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of local governments regardless of their size or structure. Today, we are a leading provider of strategic and technical guidance to governments across the Northeast and beyond. Our work encompasses municipal service, budgetary and restructuring studies; service delivery redesign efforts; and departmental and operations assessments. We have a clear understanding of fiscal and budgetary issues facing local government, governance structures, and tax collection and assessment, as well as specific functions including police, fire, highways, public works and schools. We have worked with a wide range of governments from small communities with few services to the complex operations of large cities and counties.
We inform and empower leaders and managers through empirical, fact-based research and analysis, practical guidance and achievable recommendations. Our clients value the quality of our work, our pragmatic approach and our commitment to remaining independent and non-partisan.
Monroe County/Rochester Racial and Structural Equity Commission
In 2020-21, CGR supported the work of the Racial and Structural Equity (RASE) Commission of the City of Rochester (NY) and Monroe County, a 24-member body appointed by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Monroe County Executive Adam Bello to inventory and assess local laws and policies to recommend ways to eliminate institutional and structural biases, racism and inequities. CGR supported the Commission with research, data and policy analysis, and facilitation of stakeholder input to investigate each of the areas represented by each of the Commission’s 9 Working Groups: Business Development, Criminal Justice, Education, Healthcare, Human Services, Housing, Job Creation, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and Policing. Engaging in community-led research, CGR documented findings, assisted in researching and developing recommendations, and ultimately compiled the Commission’s work into its final report. Among the recommendations that have been enacted is the creation of a county-level Minority- and Women-Owned Business Certification designed to expedite the certification of local businesses. Recommendations on policing also were included in the City of Rochester’s Executive Order 203 plan. Report: https://rocrase.com/report
Local Services in Northwest Arkansas - Assessment of a Growing Region
The Walton Family Foundation engaged CGR in 2021 to document and assess the delivery of local services in Benton and Washington Counties in Arkansas. The Foundation also asked CGR to explore opportunities for greater regional cooperation among local governments. The project was driven by rapid growth in Northwest Arkansas, where the population more than doubled between 1990 and 2020, and a desire to plan for the region’s evolving needs. CGR developed and conducted a survey of local and regional leaders, collected and analyzed data on government operations and costs, and interviewed leaders about collaboration, challenges and opportunities presented by Northwest Arkansas’s growth. CGR’s report detailed how local government functions in Arkansas; explored mechanisms for shared or regional service delivery; inventoried 32 core services delivered at the local level by counties, municipalities and regional entities; and discussed opportunities to reduce fragmentation of these services. Recommendations included further coordination of EMS services; regional collaboration to bolster rural fire departments; a more regional approach to solid waste and recycling services; developing a region-wide strategy for housing development; a study of alternatives to incarceration to address jail capacity issues; creating a dedicated revenue source for public transit; and exploring partnerships and joint bids for street maintenance.