By Holly South
Call it unprecedented, strange, difficult … There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic is making what is a challenging job in the best of times more stressful and wearying—because these are most certainly not the best of times.
Legislative staff are struggling to balance their work with a more challenging home life—while trying to stay healthy and safe on top of it all. As Betsy Theroux, director of Media Services for the Georgia House of Representatives (and 2019-2020 LINCS chair), notes, “The work of the legislature doesn’t stop, even though much of the rest of the world has seemingly come to a temporary halt.”
And so NCSL will use this week to shine a spotlight on the often-unsung heroes of our state legislatures and the leadership and resiliency on display. In addition to highlighting staff members on the NCSL Blog and in State Legislatures magazine, NCSL will host a webinar and podcast geared specifically toward legislative staff. Look for these:
And we’ll continue to update our COVID-19 resources to provide you with the latest accurate information. Here’s the first of our staff profiles:
Jackie Osborne, Chief Fiscal Officer for the Alabama State Senate
What’s your specific role in the legislature?
I am responsible for managing the annual appropriation budgeted to the Alabama State Senate. This includes managing payroll, benefits and compensation for all of our state Senators as well as all Senate employees. My office is also responsible for all accounts payable transactions of the Alabama Senate, ensuring that all of our vendor invoices are processed and paid in a timely manner.
What do you find most enjoyable and/or rewarding about your job?
My most rewarding moments have always been interacting with and assisting our state Senators as well as Senate employees with any of their compensatory needs. I am always excited to talk with employees about planning for their retirement starting at day one, letting them know that it is never too early to start saving and planning for their future.
How are you managing to stay resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic?
During these challenging times, I am prioritizing work-life balance and self-care in order to stay positive, healthy and resilient. For me, this includes staying connected while working remotely without missing a beat, daily prayer time, frequent family Zoom and FaceTime sessions and appreciating the little things. I have also been planting flowers and walking in my neighborhood.
Any insights for your peers? Any shoutouts to colleagues or legislators you’ve worked with?
To my peers: Make each moment count by always striving for excellence in everything that you do, and remember: “To whom much is given much is required.” We all are tasked with the exciting responsibility of making each of our states better for the next generation. Let’s do it! And I’d like to give a shoutout to the ladies on my staff: Pam Bush and Katrina Barlow and our entire Alabama State Senate family! You all are the best!
Thanks to Osborne and all of your colleagues around the country! NCSL recognizes your contributions, appreciates your hard work and encourages you to get involved in NCSL. This is your organization.
Holly South is a senior policy specialist and NCSL's liaison to ASLCS and LINCS.