Posted by William Nunnelley on 2005-08-01

The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA) received two national awards for its work from the Governmental Research Association (GRA) at the organization’s recent annual conference in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The first award, presented for Outstanding Policy Achievement, was for a project entitled "State Budget Reform." The project consisted of a series of publications and related activities over 16 years, beginning in 1989, culminating in the implementation of “SMART Budgeting” by the State of Alabama in 2004 and continuing consulting work by PARCA to extend and develop the reform.

The second award, for Most Distinguished Research, was for a report, “Analysis of Non-Instructional Expenditures, Staffing, and Operating Practices in the Huntsville City School System.” This study, the first of its type to be performed in Alabama, provides a detailed analysis of spending and staffing in four categories of non-instructional operations and gives the school system a foundation for strategic planning based on best-practice analysis.

James Williams, Jr., is executive director of PARCA, located at Samford University. Charles Booth and Gerry Waters are senior research associates and Marci Edwards is research associate.

GRA awards recognize exceptional research on state and local governmental issues performed by staff members of governmental research agencies.

Established in 1914, the Governmental Research Association is the national organization of individuals professionally engaged in governmental research. Governmental research involves the collection, analysis, and distribution of factual information on governmental activities to citizens and officials for the improvement of government and the reduction of its cost. The association fosters the establishment of governmental research agencies, aids and coordinates the activities of governmental research agencies and facilitates the exchange of ideas and experiences among the professional staff of such agencies.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.