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Award Criteria

Each year, the National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices (NALFO) invites nominations for the NCSL annual Legislative Staff Achievement Awards. Each NCSL professional staff association may give up to two awards to recognize outstanding staff. Nominations can be for individuals, project teams or entire offices.

A letter of nomination, plus two additional letters of support, and any additional supporting materials are encouraged, and should describe and document how the nominee has met one or more of the criteria noted below. Letters of nomination and support can be offered by legislators, peers, or other legislative staff.

A panel of NALFO officers will review the nominations based only upon the materials received, therefore the submission of examples and sufficient documentation to assess a nominee’s contributions is imperative. Nominations for the awards can fall into three categories, and the criteria for each category are below:

  1. The nominee has made a significant contribution to the resolution of a fiscal or public policy issue before the state legislature.
  2. The nominee, over time, has consistently demonstrated a high degree of professionalism and excellence in a body of work or career that warrants special recognition. It is recommended that nominees in this category have at least 10 years of experience working with state legislatures. 
  3. The nominee has made other unique contributions in promoting and developing the role of legislative fiscal staff assistance in the legislative process.

Please email your submission to Erica MacKellar at nalfo-info@ncsl.org.

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2023 Award Recipient(s)

John Guyer and Tom Horan, Executive Director and Assistant Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee 

For the past decade, John Guyer and Tom Horan have served as invaluable sources of information for the Senate Appropriations Committee in Pennsylvania. Working together as a team, they have earned a reputation of excellence from both their staff peers and member of the Senate.

Guyer and Horan are also known for their commitment to responsible budgeting, encouraging the build-up of the state’s rainy-day fund. Their work during the pandemic proved their ability to see and address fiscal vulnerabilities. 

Throughout their careers, they have worked tirelessly to provide accurate and thorough budget research to the Senate Appropriations Committee and other caucus members, and they are admired for their collaborative spirit. They remain steadfastly committed to assisting legislators with the budgeting process, and providing the resources needed for legislators to make educated decisions on behalf of their constituents. 

The Texas Legislative Budget Board Staff

The Texas Legislative Budget Board (LBB) Staff are instrumental in ensuring the Texas Legislature accomplishes its only constitutionally required goal every two years—passing the state’s biennial budget. Within a nine-month period leading up to and through the legislative session, the Texas LBB produces six different versions of the budget and accompanying documents. LBB staff also monitor capacity in the budget throughout the legislative session, providing legislators with thorough information to make informed decisions. 

Additionally, LBB staff produce thousands of fiscal notes throughout the legislative session, track certain state contracts, and the LBB School Performance Review Team reviews multiple school districts over the biennium. 

The LBB staff assist every legislator through critical research, and their work is a vital piece of the legislative process in Texas. They have established themselves as a trusted resource for the Texas Legislature, and their professionalism and quality of work has earned them the highest respect from members, leadership and their legislative staff peers around the country. 

Previous Award Recipients

2022

Melody DeBussey, Former Director, Senate Budget and Evaluation Office, Georgia

For her dedicated service in the Georgia Senate, the National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices (NALFO) is pleased to present Melody DeBussey with a 2022 Staff Achievement Award. Melody DeBussey was a part of the Georgia Senate Budget and Evaluation Office from 2011 to 2022, and served as the Director for 9 years. Melody displayed extraordinary commitment both to the legislative institution and to her staff. She was a strong voice for professional development opportunities that would enhance the skills of Senate Budget and Evaluation Office staff and legislative fiscal staff around the country. Melody also displayed this commitment as an involved and conscientious member of NALFO, providing thoughtful guidance as an officer and President of the Association.

Known as a calming force in the Georgia legislature, Melody was consistent and unflappable in the face of pressure, a trait that served the legislature well in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic forced a complete rewrite of the state’s budget to prepare for an economic downturn. Melody also expanded the capabilities of the Senate Budget and Evaluation Office, including the development of off-session projects that helped engage and educate legislators and legislative staff on a variety of topics. She helped legislators prepare for upcoming sessions, and the office became a go-to source for information beyond fiscal topics.

Melody embodies the spirit of public service, always remembering that taxpayer dollars provide services for the people of Georgia, and she worked to ensure those dollars were maximized and responsibly spent. While she has left the Senate Budget and Evaluation Office, her work and strong leadership will be remembered and will help carry the office forward for many years.

2021

The Workforce Program Review Team, Office of Fiscal and Management Analysis (OFMA), Legislative Services Agency, Indiana

The Workforce Program Review Team has been charged by the Indiana legislature with an in-depth examination of state workforce programs. Over the past three interims, the Team has successfully developed a schedule of 54 state workforce programs to review over the course of five years. The Team has already tackled some of the largest programs in terms of funding and populations served. For 2020, the team reviewed eight programs with total biennial expenditures of $524 million, serving an average of 284,600 participants on an annual basis.

Conducting these reviews has required analysis of large and complex data sets, and the team was able to successfully accomplish this, while also pivoting research questions to reflect the challenges faced by program administrators during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team’s work has resulted in significant findings for the Indiana General Assembly. Additionally, the data analysis work has expanded the research and analytical capabilities the OFMA that have been used in other fiscal research.

Tom Davis, Budget Director, Senate Majority Policy Office (SMPO), Michigan

Tom joined the Michigan Senate Majority Policy Office in 2004, bringing a wealth of experience in a broad range of policy areas including higher education, the capital outlay process, local government and transportation. Tom previously worked as the Chief of Staff for the Appropriations Committee Chair, providing guidance on the complex Michigan budget. Legislators, staff and members of the community all seek out Tom’s advice for this vast knowledge the budget process.

Among his staff, Tom is respected for his team-first approach, and greatly admired for his leadership. He strives to help staff build confidence in budget policy areas and political astuteness, providing staff with the opportunity to participate in the appropriations process.

Tom is celebrated for his distinguished service in the Senate Majority Policy Office, and his invaluable knowledge of the Michigan legislature and appropriations process.

2020

  • Don Richards, budget and fiscal administrator, Wyoming
  • Chloe Wexler, fiscal data anaylst, Vermont

2019

  • Patrick Goldsmith, House Fiscal Division, Louisiana

2018

  • Joel Michael and Steve Hinze, House Research Office, Minnesota
  • Stephanie Morrison and Sam Schaefer, Legislative Fiscal Division, Montana

2017

  • Christopher Woods, Budget Director, Office of the Speaker, California Assembly

2016

  • Tax Incentive Review Team, Office of Fiscal Management, Legislative Services Agency, Indiana
  • Martha Wigton, Director, House Budget and Research Office, Georgia

2015

  • Ryan Miller, Principal Fiscal and Policy Analyst, Legislative Analyst’s Office, California
  • John Rohrer, Coordinator, Office of Policy Analysis, Department of Legislative Services, Maryland

2014

  • Norris Green, Director, Alabama Legislative Fiscal Office
  • Russell Frandsen, Analyst, Office of the Utah Legislative Fiscal Analyst

2013

  • David J. Rosen, Ph.D., Legislative Budget and Finance Officer for the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services
  • Amanda Bickel, Chief Legislative Analyst, and Steve Allen, Senior Legislative Analyst, Colorado Joint Budget Committee

2012

  • Sarah Franklin, Senior Research Associate, Legislative Research Unit, Illinois

2011

  • John O’Brien Director, Legislative Budget Board, Texas
  • Cathy Higgins, House Budget Analysis Director, Office of Legislative Budget Analysis, Tennessee

2010

  • William Marx, Chief Fiscal Analyst, House of Representatives, Minnesota
  • Taryn Purdy, Principal Fiscal Analyst, Legislative Fiscal Division, Montana

2009

  • David Abbey, Director, Legislative Finance Committee, New Mexico
  • Sharon Reynolds Ferland, Deputy Fiscal Advisor, House of Representatives, Rhode Island

2008

  • Hadley Johnson, Jr., Deputy Legislative Analyst, Legislative Analyst's Office, California
  • Property Tax Team, Office of Fiscal and Management Analysis, Legislative Services Agency, Indiana

2007

  • Richard E. Hickman, Jr., Deputy Staff Director, Senate Finance Committee, Virginia

2006

  • Kevin Madigan, Deputy Senate Fiscal Advisor, Senate Fiscal Office, Rhode Island
  • Gary Karger, Fiscal Analyst, House Fiscal Analysis Department, Minnesota

2005

  • James Landers, Senior Fiscal Analyst, Office of Fiscal and Management Analysis, Legislative Services Agency, Indiana
  • Dennis Prouty, Director, Legislative Services Agency, Iowa

2004

  • Terry Johnson, Principal Fiscal Analyst, Legislative Fiscal Agency, Montana
  • Warren G. Deschenaux, Director, Office of Policy Analysis, Department of Legislative Services, Maryland

2003

  • William G. Black, House of Representatives, Louisiana
  • Michael Kjar and the Meribah Development Team, Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, Utah

2002

  • Don Eckhart, Legislative Service Commission, Ohio
  • Robert Sigalow, Legislative Services Agency, Indiana

2001

  • Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau Staff
  • Cathy Holland-Smith, Fiscal Officer for Legislative Services, Legislative Services Office, Idaho

2000

  • Alan D. Conroy, Chief Legislative Fiscal Analyst, Legislative Research Department, Kansas
  • Michigan House Fiscal Agency Video Project -- William Hamilton and Hank Prince

1999

  • Greta M. Rymal, Assistant Director, Legislative Budget Board, Texas
  • David Thurman, Senior Budget Specialist, Office of Legislative Budget Analysis, Tennessee

1998

  • David A. Brunson, Assistant Director, Ohio Legislative Budget Office, Ohio
  • Jeffrey Youtz, Supervisor, Legislative Budget & Policy Analysis, Idaho

1997

  • Catherine Benham, Associate Fiscal Officer, Joint Fiscal Office, Vermont
  • Alfred J. Ferguson, Assistant Executive Director, House Committee on Appropriations, Pennsylvania

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