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Steven Procopio Ph.D.


Steven Procopio joined the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana as Policy Director in 2014 where he guided PAR’s research agenda. In 2021 Steven was chosen to continue to lead PAR as the organization’s President. He previously served as Chief of Staff of the Louisiana Division of Administration where he worked on a number of transparency and fiscal issues. Prior to working at the Division, Dr. Procopio was the Director of Research and Accountability for the Lt. Governor’s office and the Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism. In that role he was responsible for research on Louisiana’s cultural economy and legislative initiatives.

Dr. Procopio is also the original Director of the Louisiana State University Public Policy Research Lab where he worked on a variety of policy issues for state agencies, nonprofits and academic researchers.

Steven is an Alexandria native with undergraduate and graduate degrees in Political Science from LSU. His doctorate in Political Science is from Indiana University. He has expertise in statistical techniques, mathematical modeling and survey analysis.

Steven is a former university instructor and lecturer who has produced a number of professional papers and publications in academic journals. For his work with the Student Government Association on hurricane response efforts, he earned the 2005-2006 LSU SGA Faculty of the Year Service Award.

Jane Dunn

Development Director

Jane Dunn joined PAR in January 2022 as Development Director. She comes to PAR with almost 20 years of fundraising experience in the non-profit and for-profit sectors. She has held development roles at Catholic High School, Baton Rouge General Foundation, Paul M. Hebert LSU Law Center and Lighthouse Louisiana.

Jane, who grew up in Baton Rouge, has a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and now lives in Prairieville with her family.

She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, an organization that offers her the opportunity to connect with colleagues, engage in creative thinking, network with new friends and achieve great results in her work.

At PAR, Jane assumes the primary role for the organization’s fundraising. She manages strategies and activities for donor cultivation, solicitation and relations as well as organizes annual giving.

Caylee Deshotel

Communications Director

Caylee joined PAR in January 2022 as Communications Manager and was promoted to Director in January 2023. She graduated from LSU in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, concentrating in public relations. Caylee came to PAR from Postlethwaite & Netterville where she was providing management consulting services to professional associations.

Caylee previously served as an intern at the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) where she managed CABL’s communication and outreach efforts and provided design work for various projects and studies. In her new role, she assists in much of this work again in addition to coordinating publication releases and all PAR communications.

She also volunteers as Louisiana Girls State’s Staff Coordinator of Media and Marketing, overseeing the government-in-action program and its communication efforts.

Caylee was born and raised in Morgan City and now lives in Baton Rouge.

Alex Tirado

Policy Intern

Alex Tirado joined PAR in the summer of 2022 as a Policy Intern. Alex is a senior at Louisiana State University, double majoring in Political Science and Mass Communication with a concentration in Political Communication. At PAR, Alex works on research concerning both COVID-19 in Louisiana and the Louisiana Legislature.

Alex recently completed the Manship School of Mass Communication’s Statehouse Bureau program where he reported on the 2022 legislative session. He also currently works on the Manship School’s Cold Case project, investigating unsolved murders in the 1960s and 1970s.

Robert Travis Scott

Senior Advisor

Robert Travis Scott became President of PAR in January 2011. He has 40 years of experience dealing with public policy issues as a journalist, researcher, commentator, analyst and nonprofit manager. He is an author of many PAR reports on state budgeting, taxes, economic development, open governance, ethics and health care. His work has received national and regional recognition through awards for policy research, investigative reporting projects, business coverage and writing.

Prior to joining PAR, Mr. Scott was based in Baton Rouge for eight years as Capital Bureau Chief for The Times-Picayune, the New Orleans metropolitan newspaper. He previously served as Editor of the prize-winning Money section for the Picayune and as a business editor and columnist for The Greenville News in South Carolina. In the 1980s he was an Associate Director and Editor for a bipartisan, nonprofit national security policy organization in Washington, D.C. He has lived in Italy and Guatemala.

Mr. Scott is an honors graduate of the University of South Carolina’s Department of Government and International Studies, where he was named outstanding senior. He has a certificate in international studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies – Bologna Center in Italy.

Mr. Scott has served on state and national commissions and task force groups, including the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Louisiana State Advisory Committee, Louisiana’s Task Force on Structural Changes in Budget and Tax Policy, and other advisory commissions addressing state fiscal and education policies. He is a member of the board of directors of the American Tinnitus Association. He is a facilitator for Dialogue on Race Louisiana and a member of the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge.

Melinda Deslatte

Research Director

Melinda joined PAR in January 2022 as Research Director after serving as an Associated Press reporter for 22 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from LSU and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

Melinda is known for her expertise in covering the Louisiana state budget and finances, as well as the governor, the Legislature, elections, redistricting, education, health care and partisan shifts in politics. She has covered hurricanes, the coronavirus pandemic, racial justice protests and the trials of former Gov. Edwin Edwards and a Baton Rouge serial killer. As Research Director, Melinda will lead PAR’s primary mission of producing research that promotes best practices and accountability in state and local government.

She is on the board of the Capitol Correspondents Association, which produces the Gridiron Show. She is a former member of the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication Alumni Board and the Press Club of Baton Rouge Board.

Melinda was born and raised in LaPlace and lives in Baton Rouge.

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Julie Mascarella

Office Manager

Julie Mascarella serves as office manager and oversees various programs and projects. She is responsible for organizing PAR’s annual conference and supervises PAR’s standing committees.

In addition, Ms. Mascarella serves as bookkeeper and human resources manager. She maintains records for all project grants as well as PAR’s financial records.

Ms. Mascarella has over 25 years in various office management roles prior to joining PAR in 2004. Additionally, she worked with several professional associations in administering and coordinating their membership management, administrative and event-planning projects.

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Connie McClendon

Administrative Assistant

Connie McClendon joined the PAR staff in 1993. She serves as Administrative Assistant and is responsible for maintaining PAR’s database, which consists of over 3,500 members throughout the state. In addition, she is responsible for all membership correspondence and billing. Ms. McClendon also assists with PAR’s publication orders and bulk mailings.

Grace Chesnut

Research and Communications Intern

Grace Chesnut joined PAR in the summer of 2022 as a Research and Communications Intern. Grace is a senior at Louisiana State University, majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Business Administration. At PAR, Grace works on research concerning COVID-19 in Louisiana and assists with communication efforts.

Grace is a member of LSU’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, an organization for students interested in pursuing a career in public relations and communications.

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Don Gregory

Consultant for Healthcare Research

Don Gregory is a native of Louisiana and graduated from Louisiana Tech University in 1973 with B.S. in Management. He was a career employee with over 36 years of service to the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH). He retired from the position of Medicaid Director on June 30, 2012. Previously he was appointed to the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Aging and Adult Services. Prior to this, he served in several positions within Medicaid including among others Deputy Medicaid Director, Director of Field Operations and as the Program Integrity Section Chief for ten years.

In addition to his duties at DHH, Mr. Gregory served for nine years as chairman to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Fraud and Abuse Control Technical Advisory Group (TAG), having been appointed to this position by the National Association of State Medicaid Directors. This TAG exists to advise the Medicaid directors and CMS on matters related to fraud and abuse control.

Mr. Gregory is the past President of the National Association of Program Integrity Officials, now named the National Association for Medicaid Program Integrity (NAMPI). This is a national association of state Medicaid program integrity officials.

He has been married for 40 years to the former Vickie Wyatt. They reside in Baton Rouge and have two grown daughters, Angela and Julie.