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The National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices (NALFO) is the professional organization of legislative fiscal staff of the states and territories of the United States. NALFO is a non-partisan organization with five objectives:

  • To provide and support comprehensive and effective training programs for legislative fiscal staff.
  • To promote the development of effective relationships between association members and state legislators throug.h the association’s role within NCSL.
  • To promote the professional image of the association.
  • To promote interaction and information exchange among association members on a national and regional basis
  • To improve intergovernmental fiscal policy through the development and dissemination of fiscal information.

Staff assistance for NALFO programs and activities is provided by the Fiscal Affairs Program of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices was formed in 1976 to promote and improve the quality of professional legislative fiscal staff support for state legislatures throughout the country. NALFO is one of the ten staff sections affiliated with NCSL and the collaboration has produced excellent programs for fiscal staff in professional development and training, information exchange, and improvements in intergovernmental fiscal policy. NALFO also has two strong regional affiliations, the Eastern States Legislative Fiscal Officers Association (ESLFOA) and the Western States Legislative Fiscal Officers Association (WSLFOA).

Membership

Membership is open to all legislative fiscal staff of the states and territories of the United States. NALFO does not charge dues and there is no formal affiliation process.

Meetings

NALFO meets once a year during the annual meeting to conduct its business meeting and select officers, and ESLFOA and WSLFOA each meet once in the fall.

Professional Development

Professional development is the cornerstone value of NALFO membership and many opportunities exist to benefit legislative fiscal staff. At the NCSL Legislative Summit, several sessions are reserved for fiscal topics that explore issues common to all states as well as examining unique and innovative approaches that may have broader application. The Fiscal Analysts Seminar is held in early fall with specific tracks on budget and tax issues. (suspended for 2009) Each year at the NCSL Legislative Summit, NALFO presents a Legislative Staff Achievement Award to up to two deserving individuals, teams or offices to recognize outstanding legislative fiscal staff.

NALFO Network

NCSL maintains a NALFO webpage and also produces a monthly electronic newsletter, The Fiscal Link. NALFO has established an electronic discussion group as well as a larger e-mail address list with more than 1,000 legislative fiscal staff. The NCSL Fiscal Affairs Program staff survey surveys NALFO members several times annually to keep members current with fiscal issues and provides the results of those surveys in the form of State Budget Update, State Budget Actions and State Tax Actions. 

By Tony Hutchison, Senior Staff Associate, Fiscal Affairs Program, 1987

The National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices  was formed to serve as the professional organization for the staff directors of Legislative Budget and Finance Offices in the fifty states. Its purposes are to foster and improve the general quality of legislative fiscal staff assistance to state legislatures. The association provides training programs to fiscal staff and promotes the professional image of the association's membership. Additionally, the association aids the interaction and information exchange among association members on a national and regional basis.

Origins

NALFO was an outgrowth of another organization, the Western States Legislative Fiscal Officers Association (WSLFOA), according to long time NALFO member and former NCSL Staff Chairman, Dale Cattanach of Wisconsin. WSLFOA was formed in 1967 in Phoenix, Arizona to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas between Western Fiscal Officers.

Fiscal Officers from several western states participated in the creation of WSLFOA. These included Maralyn Budke of New Mexico, Joe Kyle of Colorado, Tom Keel of Texas, and Leo Memmott of Utah. This organization was run informally with each president of the organization providing the staff and secretarial support during his or her term of office.

Over the next few years the annual meeting of the WSLFOA association were attended by fiscal officers from the Midwest region and these fiscal officers decided to create a Midwestern Legislative Fiscal Officers Association. These members included Eugene Farnum of Michigan and Dale Cattanach of Wisconsin.

During this same period a group of fiscal officers from the northeastern part of the country began to meet to discuss problems common to their profession. This group was known as the Association of New England Fiscal Officers. Al Roberts, then director of the New York State Assembly Ways & Means Committee staff and an early NALFO participant, was active in this group.

Development of a regional organization of legislative fiscal officers in the southern states grew along different lines. Traditionally, the southern fiscal officers have met as a group with the Fiscal Affairs and Government Operations group of the Southern Legislative Conference. This group differs significantly from the other regional organizations in that it is a group that consists of both staff members and legislators.

Creation of a National Organization

By 1975 each of these groups was becoming aware of the others' existence and there was a move to create a national organization for legislative fiscal officers with regional sub-units. The Western Association was instrumental in this merger and many of NALFO's organizational characteristics were drawn from WSLFOA.

On September 21, 1976, at NCSL's Annual Meeting in Kansas City , Missouri, formal discussions about the creation of a national legislative fiscal officer's organization took place. Dale Cattanach, fiscal officer from Wisconsin, presided over that meeting.

Discussions centered around several issues. Should a national organization be created? Should such an organization be formally affiliated with the National Conference of State Legislatures as a staff section? What relationship would the regional organizations have to the new national organization? And should the national organization be involved in taking positions on public policy?

Most participants were in agreement on the first issue of whether a national organization should be formed. Some participants such as Jim Oliver of Texas, however, felt that formal creation of a national organization was unnecessary. Mr. Oliver stated that he and the director of the Legislative Budget Board in Texas, Tom Keel, felt that the fiscal officer's relationship with NCSL was sufficient to insure adequate training and information exchange.

Although this opinion was in the minority it was indicative of the feeling of several participants that the regional organizations remain strong and autonomous. So while the majority favored the creation of a national organization, the nature of such an organization was still an issue.

Some participants, such as Ralph Caruso of Connecticut, supported the concept of a national organization only if it was affiliated with NCSL. There was significant support for this idea at the meeting. Among the arguments for affiliating with NCSL were:

  1. Members of the regional organizations had found information exchanges valuable and they began to see the value of a national organization to facilitate such exchanges.
  2. Many members of NALFO saw that NCSL would grow and that NALFO would become an important cog in the NCSL staff sections.
  3. Members also recognized there was strength in numbers in dealing with federal government. A national legislative fiscal officer association would have more impact in getting information from federal sources.

Leo Memmott, fiscal officer from Utah, spoke for the creation of an organization which would give fiscal officers a role in NCSL but preserve the regional organizations. Several other fiscal officers concurred with this statement. Mr. Memmott also stated that by affiliating with NCSL, fiscal officers would have a voice strengthening programs on tax and budget issues at the Annual Meeting and in designing training programs for fiscal staff.

Those in favor of affiliating with NCSL were able to persuade the other members that the resources and status of NCSL would be a benefit to NALFO. A year later in 1977 when the NALFO by laws were drafted, NCSL was named as the secretariat to NALFO. NCSL has continued to provide secretarial and staff support to NALFO since that time.

Another issue was the relationships of the regional organizations to the national organization and the missions of each. Albert Roberts of New York made the argument that if NALFO was created, it should remain a loose confederation and not a highly structured group. He also made the point that it should not speak as a group on policy issues.

Several other participants at the meeting such as Joe Kyle, who by this time had moved from the Colorado Joint Budget Committee to the Florida House and Maralyn Budke of New Mexico agreed that there was a need for a national organization, but concerned with previous speakers that NALFO should be structured to keep the regional organizations as strong and integral parts of the organization and that the new organization should not function as a policy group.

Following this discussion there was general consensus that NALFO should not be a policy group and that the regional organizations should be preserved and remain an integral part of the national organization.

After this discussion meeting participants took a vote on creating a national organization of legislative fiscal officers which conformed to three criteria:

  1. The association would not be a policy group;
  2. It would operate with NCSL;
  3. There would no dues paid.

By a show of hands, the creation of NALFO was approved by a vote of 18 to 1.

Participants elected Maralyn Budke of New Mexico chair of the new organization. Al Roberts of New York was elected vice-chair and Gerry Rankin of Iowa was elected secretary. The consensus of the group was that the presidents of the four regional associations along with the three officers would act as an executive committee.

NALFO Program and Activities

Training was another issue of NALFO in its early years. Albert Roberts of New York, Eugene Schlatter of Washington, and Richard Sheridan of Ohio were instrumental in early training efforts. Over the years NALFO established training programs for both junior and senior staff members of legislative fiscal offices. In the mid- to late seventies, training topics ranged from corrections finance to K-12 education finance.

As NALFO has grown so has the scope of its programs and activities. While many NALFO meetings retain a social and collegial atmosphere, the formal structure and contents of its programs have been improved. The NALFO staff section programs at the NCSL annual meetings have been strengthened in terms of speakers, program material, and participants.

In the 1980s NALFO training has included the establishment of a skills development component for new fiscal office personnel. This training component has focused on using a case study method to teach analytic skills and budget techniques to fiscal office staff who have 1-2 years experience in the legislative environment. A separate training seminar for more veteran fiscal analysts has been strengthened in recent years. This program, which has traditionally been held in a resort setting, has had a dramatically increased attendance in the mid-1980s. Prominent outside speakers in the fields of investment banking, prison, school and transportation finance, as well as experts in the areas of state economic development and tax issues have contributed to the Senior Fiscal Analysts Seminar. But the real strength of this seminar is the roundtable discussion among the analysts from various states who get a chance to exchange ideas and compare techniques.

Other programs for NALFO members and their staffs also have grown. The NCSL Annual Meeting and the Assembly on State Issues meetings provide forums for both substantive policy discussions, business meetings, and meetings of various other NALFO Committees.
In recent years the NALFO committee system also has been strengthened as well as the role of the NALFO Executive Committee. Additionally, NALFO has been included as an advisor to NCSL's Assembly on Federal Issues on federal budget matters.

NALFO still has many organizational challenges ahead but its brief history indicates that is also has a great deal of potential.


Note: The National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices was formerly known as the National Association of Legislative Fiscal Officers. The association changed its name in 1998.

Acknowledgments

Several people were instrumental in helping to complete this project. Dennis Prouty of Iowa coordinated the effort, Ron Crisman of Vermont, (then) President of NALFO, helped push it along, and numerous fiscal officers, past and present, provided information including:

  • Dale Cattanach, Wisconsin
  • Marylyn Budke, New Mexico
  • Tom Keel, Texas
  • Jim Oliver, Texas
  • Leo Memmott, Utah
  • Eugene Schlatter, Washington
  • Charles Connor, New Hampshire

Special thanks to John Andreason of Idaho, who not only provided information for this project, but who has also provided enormous support for NALFO activities throughout his tenure as NCSL staff chair.

Effective as of Aug. 15, 2006.

Article One

Name

The name of this organization is the National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices, hereinafter referred to as the association.

Membership

Membership in the association is open to professional legislative fiscal staff of the states and territories of the United States.

Voting

All members present shall be entitled to vote on questions of interest to the association unless a division is called for, in which case each state shall have one vote. Votes shall be cast by a representative selected by the membership in that state.

Purpose

The purpose of the association is to improve the quality and effectiveness of legislative fiscal staff and the services they provide to state legislatures.

Objectives

To implement this overall purpose, the association has the following objectives:

  1. to provide and support comprehensive and effective training programs for legislative fiscal staff.
  2. to promote the development of effective relationships between association members and state legislators through the association's role within NCSL.
  3. to promote the professional image of the association.
  4. to promote interaction and information exchange among association members on a national and regional basis and,
  5. to improve intergovernmental fiscal policy through the development and dissemination of fiscal information.

The assessment of dues upon the membership is hereby prohibited.

Article Two

Meetings of Members

Meetings of the association shall be held at such time and place as shall be designated by the executive committee. Meetings shall be held at least annually and at other times as may be determined by the executive committee. Adequate notice of meetings shall be given to all members prior to the meeting, such notice to be provided at least ten (10) days in advance.

Article Three

Officers

The officers of the association shall be as follows:

The president shall preside at all meetings of the association and of the executive committee and shall have general control over the affairs of the association subject to the approval of the executive committee.

The president-elect shall perform such duties as may be assigned by the president or the executive committee. In case of death, disability, or absence of the president, the president-elect shall perform and be vested with all the powers and duties of that office.

The secretary shall maintain a record of all votes and minutes of meetings of the association and executive committee. The secretary shall provide notice of meetings to all member offices.

The treasurer shall keep account of all moneys received or disbursed by the association in a bank account or depository approved by the executive committee. All checks for payment of money shall be signed by the president or president-elect and the treasurer.

An executive committee, consisting of the officers of the association, the immediate past president, the chairs of any committees the association chooses to create and two representatives from the two geographical regions of the nation. There will be two regional organizations within NALFO, an Eastern Region, and a Western Region. The demarcation between the Eastern and Western Regions shall be the Mississippi River, except Michigan and Wisconsin shall be considered Western members.

Selection of Officers

The president-elect, secretary, and treasurer shall be elected from the membership by a vote of the association as provided for in Article One of these by-laws and shall serve one year terms. After serving one term, the president-elect shall assume the office of president and serve one term. After serving one term the president shall assume the office of immediate past president and serve one term. The secretary and treasurer do not automatically move to the next higher office. Two regional officers shall be selected by the membership of each of the two geographic regions by whatever method the regional membership chooses.

A three-member nominating committee shall recommend to the membership a slate of candidates for the positions of president-elect, secretary, and treasurer. Nominations may also be made by any member of the association. The nominating committee shall include the immediate past president (chair) and two others not on the executive committee, appointed by the president. A president-elect before assuming the office of president shall present to the association his/her nominees for committee chair positions. These nominees shall be subject to the approval of the association.

In the event any officer of the association vacates that office before completion of a term, the executive committee shall select a replacement for the unexpired term.

Article Four

Executive Committee

The executive committee shall be responsible to the association for implementation of actions adopted by the voting membership. The executive committee shall meet annually and at such other times as called by the president of the association who shall notify the members at least ten (10) working days in advance of the meeting. Meetings may be conducted by conference telephone call at the discretion of the president. The executive committee may appoint special committees to assist it in the performance of its responsibilities.

Article Five

Training Seminar

NALFO authorizes that any balance in excess of expenses for the Fiscal Analysts Seminar shall revert to the a reserve fund to be applied to any future seminar costs.

Article Six

Changes in Amendments of By-laws

The by-laws may only be amended by a majority vote of the states present and voting at the annual meeting of the association, held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and may not be amended by executive committee. A copy of the proposed amendment shall be mailed to the member offices with the call.

The terms of officers commence at the close of the annual meeting at which they are elected and continue through the next ensuing annual meeting.

Current Officers

  • Past-President: Eric Nauman, Senate lead fiscal analyst, Minnesota
  • President: Amy Skei, budget director, House Transportation Committee, Washington
  • President-Elect: Krista Lee Carsner, executive director, Fiscal Review Committee, Tennessee
  • Secretary: Kirk Fulford, deptuy director, Legislative Fiscal Office, Alabama
  • Treasurer: Joe Triem, deptuy director, Legislative Finance Division, Montana

Past Presidents

Melody DeBussey Georgia 2021-2022
Eric Nauman Minnesota 2019-2021
Patrick Goldsmith Louisiana 2018-2019
Jim Landers Indiana 2017-2018
Amy Carlson Montana 2016-2017
David Teal Alaska 2015-2016
Alan Calandro Connecticut 2014-2015
Mildred Hamilton Arkansas 2013-2014
Betsey Daley Virginia 2012-13

Jonathan Ball

Utah 2011-12

Stephanie Barret

Vermont

2010-11

Holly M. Lyons

Iowa

2009-2010

Nandana Kalupahana

Hawaii

2008-09

Cathy Fernandez

New Mexico

2007-08

John O'Brien

Texas

2006-07

David B. Juppe

Maryland

2005-06

Michael Calvert

Nebraska

2004-05

Katherine Schill

Minnesota

2003-04

Jeff Youtz

Idaho

2002-03

Kevin Madigan

Rhode Island

2001-02

Connie Hardin

Tennessee

2000-01

Bill Marx

Minnesota

1999-2000

Stephen Klein

Vermont

1997-99

Stephen Price

Missouri

1996-97

Paul Dlugolecki

Pennsylvania

1995-96

Joyce Bigbee

Alabama

1994-95

Brian Maddy

Oklahoma

1993-94

Robert Keaton

Louisiana

1992-93

Gary Olson

Michigan

1991-92

Gerald Silliphant

New Jersey

1990-91

Ted Ferris

Arizona

1989-90

Dennis Prouty

Iowa

1988-89

Ron Crisman

Vermont

1987-88

Don Judy

Kentucky

1986-87

Charles Conner

New Hampshire

1985-86

John Andreason

Idaho

1984-85

Chet Nelson

North Dakota

1983-84

Don Weatherspoon

Maryland

1982-83

Leo Memmott

Utah

1980-82

Eugene Schlatter

Washington

1979-80

Bill Goodman

Arkansas

1978-79

Al Roberts

New York

1976-78

Maralyn Budke

New Mexico

1975-76*

*Chairperson of the group that formed NALFO, then its first president

Interested in Becoming a NALFO Officer?

NALFO welcomes all legislative staff with fiscal research or analysis responsibilities to be involved in the organization. The organization does not charge dues, and strives to improve the quality and effectiveness of legislative fiscal staff and the services they provide to state legislatures through information sharing and networking. NALFO is governed by elected officers, who help set the direction of NALFO and improve the organization’s ability to assist legislative fiscal staff around the country.

NCSL hopes you will consider becoming a NALFO officer and lending your voice and expertise to this valuable organization.

Roles and Responsibilities of NALFO Officers

The core of the NALFO Executive Committee consists of the immediate past-president, president, president-elect, secretary and treasurer. At the NALFO Annual Business Meeting typically held in conjunction with the NCSL Legislative Summit in August, a new slate of officers is presented to NALFO membership and approved. The president-elect automatically assumes the role of president, but other officers must be approved as they move into a new position. Roles and responsibilities for each of the positions are below:

  • The president shall preside at all meetings of the association and of the executive committee and shall have general control over the affairs of the association subject to the approval of the executive committee.
  • The president-elect shall perform such duties as may be assigned by the president or the executive committee. In case of death, disability, or absence of the president, the president-elect shall perform and be vested with all the powers and duties of that office.
  • The secretary shall maintain a record of all votes and minutes of meetings of the association and executive committee. The secretary shall provide notice of meetings to all member offices.
  • The treasurer shall keep account of all moneys received or disbursed by the association in a bank account or depository approved by the executive committee. All checks for payment of money shall be signed by the president or president-elect and the treasurer.

These are the official descriptions in the NALFO bylaws, but in practice the roles are less formal. NCSL staff will notify offices of meetings and take notes as necessary, and all banking and accounting will also be done through NCSL. The NALFO Executive Committee will help move NALFO business forward in accordance with the agenda of the president and the broader LSCC, assist in brainstorming programming for meetings, and advise and make decisions on other issues as they arise. 

While the secretary and treasurer do not automatically move into the next position up, they typically do by tradition. Please keep in mind when putting your name forward that the president and president-elect also serve on NCSL’s Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee.

More About NCSL’s Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee (LSCC)

When you become president-elect and president of NALFO, you will also become a member of NCSL's Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee (LSCC).

The LSCC is made up of the NCSL staff officers, the legislative staff members elected to the NCSL Executive Committee, the staff co-chairs and staff vice chairs of the NCSL Standing Committees, two officers of each of the nine professional staff associations, and six discretionary appointees of the staff chair.

The purposes of the LSCC are to oversee the legislative staff division of NCSL, to coordinate the work of the nine professional staff associations of NCSL, to promote professional development of legislative staff, and to review and evaluate NCSL services to legislative staff. LSCC serves in an advisory capacity to the NCSL Executive Committee.

The LSCC meets four times a year, and while your participation is not mandatory, it is highly encouraged that you attend as many meetings as possible while serving as NALFO president-elect and president. Travel funds are not provided and are the responsibility of the individual or their legislature. However, there is no registration fee and most meals are provided.

The time commitment for in-person LSCC meetings is about two to three days (including travel) and for online LSCC meetings the commitment is approximately four to five hours spread across one week. Depending on projects and your level of interest and engagement, you may be asked to volunteer in between meetings, which typically consumes no more than eight hours during a three-to-four-month period. However, the time commitment can increase should you take on a leadership role within the LSCC.

For more information on the LSCC, check out the LSCC home page, LSCC workgroup and subcommittee page, the current LSCC roster, and the LSCC orientation booklet.

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