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PAR researcher wins national award

A longtime Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) researcher was honored by a national association for his career of service in governmental research. Richard T. “Ty” Keller, PAR’s senior research associate emeritus, was awarded the Frederick P. Gruenberg Award by the Governmental Research Association (GRA) at the organization’s annual conference in New York last month. The GRA has been awarding the Gruenberg Award since 1975 to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the profession.

During his 40 years with PAR, Keller rose to the level of senior research associate as an insightful, diligent and productive researcher of governmental issues. Since joining PAR in 1971, Keller has written or directed research for dozens of publications dealing with a wide variety of Louisiana state and local government issues. His studies on economic development, comparative taxes and community colleges have helped Louisiana develop a more efficient, effective and accountable state government.

“His skill and dedication were essential to the development of PAR as a trusted and credible catalyst for reform in Louisiana,” said PAR President Jim Brandt. “His ability to analyze programs in their practical and historical public policy context was a model for the many research analysts and interns he trained and mentored throughout his career.”

“From my first day at PAR as a research intern, Ty gave generously of his time and patience to help guide and mentor me into this obscure profession,” said Jennifer Pike, PAR research director. “His deep knowledge of Louisiana politics and policy continues to be invaluable to the work we do today.”

Keller retired from PAR in 2005 but has continued to provide research support on a consulting basis. Since his retirement, he has written several PAR reports. In 2005, the Ty Keller Endowed Research Chair in State Finance was created to honor his influence on the organization and to establish a permanent resource to support continued research on Louisiana tax and spending issues.

Keller has done extensive research on tax and fiscal policy, property tax issues, vo-tech education and education management. He has also conducted numerous management studies of state agencies and undertaken contract studies for local governments throughout the state. His work on higher education policy was instrumental in the creation of the state’s community and technical college system. In addition, for many years he produced updated guides to Louisiana taxes, home rule charter laws and constitutional amendments.

His more recent reports on public retirement systems, municipal bankruptcy and transportation infrastructure funding continue to be referenced as current policies are developed. Several of his reports have received awards for distinguished research and special achievement from the GRA.

Keller graduated cum laude from Brigham Young University in 1962 and did postgraduate work at BYU and the New York University Graduate School of Public Administration. Prior to joining PAR, he was an assistant professor at California State University at Fullerton and worked for the National Municipal League.

PAR is a private, nonprofit, non-partisan public policy research organization focused on pointing the way toward a more efficient, effective, transparent and accountable Louisiana government. PAR was founded in 1950 and is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations. PAR has never accepted state government funds.

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