An email from chairman Steven Rountree cites California's lagging economy and “dramatically polarized political environment” for the Oct. 20 closure of the Center for Governmental Studies. The organization, founded in 1983 by president Robert Stern and CEO Tracy Westen and based on West Pico Boulevard, has "forged a solid reputation for bringing together political leaders from both parties — often with wildly divergent viewpoints — in numerous projects that influenced legislation, campaign finance reporting and political discourse in the Golden State," writes Carla Marinucci at the San Francisco Chronicle.
Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos, who resigned from the CGS board this week, called the closure “a major loss for anyone who cares about good government and getting the kind of independent analysis that can lead to good decisions – whether it’s at the local state or federal level…particularly in the areas of public finance, ethics, and the use of modern technology.”
* Update: "It's been coming for some time," Stern tells Rick Orlov at the Sausage Factory.
Statement from CGS after the jump: "With some sadness, but with considerable pride in our accomplishments, we are closing the Center for Governmental Studies' offices after 28 years of service in the public interest."
With some sadness, but with considerable pride in our accomplishments, we are closing the Center for Governmental Studies' offices after 28 years of service in the public interest. The recession has depleted our funding, and we cannot continue to operate CGS in its present form. The CGS board and leadership have therefore reluctantly concluded that it is necessary to close.
CEO Tracy Westen and President Bob Stern, along with several former CGS staff members, will complete pending CGS projects and move on to other ventures. Tracy plans to continue his work on governance reform and online democracy. Bob expects to continue work as an expert consultant, public speaker and political commentator.
We have many people to thank for their invaluable contributions: our brilliant Chairman Emeritus, Rocco Siciliano, and current Chair, Stephen Rountree, who together guided CGS over the past 28 years; our wise board of directors, who volunteered many hours of time to support our efforts; our talented staff and interns, many of whom have moved on to distinguished careers; our many funders, who enabled us to contribute our creative energies to the public interest; and countless elected officials, civic organizations and citizens across the nation, who worked to implement our recommendations.
Some of our recent staff have found new positions; others are seeking new and challenging opportunities; and many hope to continue working in the broader public interest.