2021 Legislative Staff Achievement Award Recipients

7/1/2021

Award Recipients

Introduction

Beginning in 1997, NCSL’s nine staff professional associations were given the opportunity to recognize among their membership up to two legislative staff or agencies who made outstanding contributions to their legislatures and to the staff association. The award was established through the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee to recognize excellence in service to state legislatures. In addition to the professional staff association honorees, the staff co-chair(s) of the NCSL Standing Committees may select up to two additional award recipients. The Legislative Education Staff Network also presents an annual staff award. Below is information about the 2021 award recipients.

Congratulations to the Legislative Staff Achievement Award recipients!

Online Democracy Award
Notable Documents Award

American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries (ASLCS)

A photo of Meggan Foesch, business manager for the Wisconsin State SenateMeggan Foesch, business manager, Wisconsin Senate
Meggan Foesch has worked for the Wisconsin Legislature for more than two decades. She is instrumental in the Senate’s budget planning process and responsible for the Senate’s accounting functions. In addition, she works on state Capitol projects and plans a wide range of events, from inauguration to Senate reunions. 

In the past few years alone, she has made the Wisconsin Senate more effective by driving several technology-related projects with a philosophy that technology should be embraced with a focus on improving customer experience.

A member of ASLCS since 2007, she led planning for the 2010 and 2018 professional development seminars, serves on standing committees, has coordinated and served on ASLCS session panels, and participated in several Legislative Expos. 

A photo of Megan Martin, secretary and parliamentarian, Pennsylvania SenateMegan Martin, secretary and parliamentarian, Pennsylvania Senate
Megan Martin has devoted most of her legal career to public service. She is the first woman to serve as the Pennsylvania Senate’s secretary and parliamentarian since the position was established more than 100 years ago. 

Since becoming secretary and parliamentarian in 2012, she has been a change agent in the Senate, not only modernizing the legislative operations of the Senate but also updating her entire operation and elevating the roles of her 80 team members and their important work as public servants. She has also promoted civics education and has invested in her team by creating and implementing a professional development and training program. 

Martin led the team that developed the solution that allowed the Pennsylvania Senate to continue its operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her leadership resulted in the Senate being the first state legislative chamber to hold a session with the full remote participation of its members during a worldwide pandemic. She has also served as a valuable resource to fellow ASLCS members navigating their own sessions during the pandemic.

A member of the 2020 Mason’s Manual Commission, she has also written and lectured extensively on parliamentary procedure, government service and the legislative process. 

Leadership Staff Professional Association (LSPA)

A photo of Dan Greear, chief counsel, West Virginia House of Delegates Dan Greear, chief counsel, West Virginia House of Delegates 
LSPA selects Dan Greear to receive the Legislative Staff Achievement Award for his commitment to the West Virginia Legislature, House of Delegates and Office of the Speaker. Steady and constant, Greear is a born consensus builder. His extensive with the West Virginia Legislature ensures that Greear can navigate state agencies and that no time is wasted on missteps throughout the process. He knows how to explain the law and the legislative process to members so they can clearly and confidently advocate for or against bills throughout our legislative session. Greear is always generous with his advice and experience and has contributed to just about every major piece of legislation considered by the House since he arrived. He supports the staff in a variety of ways and has made the House a better place to work. He encourages all staff to continually learn, to join NCSL and to be the best legislative staffers they can be.

Sherry McCoy, constituent services director, Office of California Senator Nancy Skinner 
LSPA selects Sherry McCoy to receive the Legislative Staff Achievement Award for her commitment to going above and beyond to ensure that constituents receive timely responses and that they feel cared for. She works hard to ensure that systems are in place so that staff and interns can be successful. She has helped hundreds of constituents receive their EDD unemployment benefits this year alone. Beyond this, she is a joy to work with and consistently supportive and understanding, especially with less senior staff. She has been a constant advocate for the most vulnerable within our community, supporting those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the elderly, and those who’ve been most impacted by the pandemic. Her career, determination and energy serve as an inspiration and a model for legislative staff. 

Legislative Information and Communication Staff (LINCS)

A photo of Cecillea Pond-Mayo, chief information officer, Arkansas House of RepresentativesCecillea Pond-Mayo, chief information officer, Arkansas House of Representatives
LINCS is proud to present Cecillea Pond-Mayo, chief information officer for the Arkansas House of Representatives, with a LINCS Staff Achievement Award for her integral role as part of the House communications teams since 2011. She writes columns, press releases and speeches. She also provides oversight for livestream operations, video production, the website and social media, and she serves as the media liaison for the House speaker. During the pandemic, under her leadership, the House communications team overcame numerous obstacles to ensure the legislative process could and would continue in a safe and healthy environment. She is respected for her unwavering professionalism and integrity while serving the legislature and the public.

A photo of Drew Volturo, deputy chief of staff for communications, Delaware House of Representatives Drew Volturo, deputy chief of staff for communications, Delaware House of Representatives
LINCS is proud to present Drew Volturo with a LINCS Staff Achievement Award for his long-term commitment to the Delaware House of Representatives as deputy chief of staff for communications for the House Majority Caucus. He began working for the General Assembly as the Majority Caucus’ first communications director in 2009. He is truly admired for transforming the communications department’s role from a single person writing press releases and taking photos to a five-person team responsible for all aspects of communications for 26 representatives across numerous multimedia platforms. In 2019, he led the launch of the successful “Whip Count” podcast. According to his colleagues, he is “the quintessential team player and has never sought out the recognition he truly deserves for all that he does.”

Legislative Research Librarians (LRL)

A photo of Betsy Haugen, reference manager, Minnesota Legislative Reference Library Betsy Haugen, reference services manager, Minnesota Legislative Reference Library 
Betsy’s unwavering commitment to the Minnesota Legislature, Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, NCSL and the Legislate Research Librarian Staff Association is widely known and recognized among her peers. She has spent over 20 years with the Legislative Reference Library, where her strength as a leader and her commitment to a collegial atmosphere is evidenced in the growth of the staff she supervises and the cultivation of strong relationships with other legislative offices. Betsy has been instrumental in the continued development of the Minnesota Agencies Database, which grew from 500 to nearly 1,200 records.
 
Her many years with LRL, including service on the executive committee from 2016 to 2019 and participation on the NCSL Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee, allowed her to develop and participate in professional development sessions for Professional Development Seminars, the NCSL Legislative Summit and so much more. She’s well-respected by those who participate in NCSL staff associations and known for her leadership and mentorship mindset. Her patience, warmth, energy and leadership have touched many across the nation. 

National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices (NALFO)

A photo of Workforce Program Review Team, Indiana Office of Fiscal Management Analysis Workforce Program Review Team, Indiana Office of Fiscal Management Analysis 
The Workforce Program Review Team has been charged by the Indiana General Assembly 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 datasets, 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.  

A photo of Tom Davis, budget director, Michigan Senate Majority Policy Office Tom Davis, budget director, Michigan Senate Majority Policy Office 
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 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 the appropriations process.

National Association of Legislative Information Technology (NALIT)

A photo of the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, Office of Computing and Information Technology Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, Office of Computing and Information Technology 
The Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, Office of Computing and Information Technology was selected as the NALIT recipient of the Legislative Staff Achievement Award. The office made major upgrades to its system’s technical structure while devising solutions to the operational challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The camaraderie and shared sense of mission that unites the OCIT team enabled them to facilitate a full legislative session under unusual circumstances. Since the House of Representatives chambers is not large enough to allow social distancing, the team made modifications to allow remote participation and created a chamber “bill book’ to provide members with up-to-the-minute information on legislation under consideration. As remote participation in committees became a priority, the OCIT staff expanded videoconferencing capabilities to every committee room. As constituent requests increased by 900% in 2020, OCIT created the applications necessary to assist legislative staff in providing the public with information. Cindy O’Dell was the NALIT 2018-19 chair, and Joel Redding was the 2014-15 chair. Joel was also a member of NCSL’s Executive Committee 2016-19. Michael Ganesan currently serves as a director of NALIT’s executive committee.  The OCIT staff works quietly behind the scenes to deliver systems to the legislature in an exemplary fashion. 

A photo of the Virginia House of Delegates Clerk’s Office Information Technology Team Virginia House of Delegates Clerk’s Office Information Technology Team 
The Virginia House of Delegates Clerk’s Office Information Technology Team moved quickly when the COVID-19 pandemic struck to configure equipment to allow legislative staff to work remotely.  For the House to convene with appropriate social distancing, a large tent had to be erected and the IT Team configured the space with livestreaming, large displays for voting, outdoor Wi-Fi for the members and staff, and a voting system. The team managed this herculean feat quickly and efficiently. This dedicated team trained members and staff on remote meeting software and created a way for the public to sign up to testify and submit written testimony. To facilitate secure voting, 100 IPads were configured using a custom application. The 2020 special session was held on a university basketball court, where again the IT team delivered equipment and comprehensive support to the Virginia House. The team’s biggest accomplishment and point of pride this year was the implementation of the 2021 all virtual (floor and committee meetings with public participation) session, with the Speaker presiding from the House Chamber for floor sessions. These dedicated staff are also long-standing members of NALIT, including past chairs Troy Adkins (2013-14) and Sharon Crouch Steidel (1999-2000), who frequently speak on panels and collaborate with their peers. The Virginia House of Delegates IT Team is commended for its commitment to the process with patience, expertise and creativity. 

National Legislative Program Evaluation Society (NLPES)

A photo of Linda Triplett, director, Mississippi PEER Performance Accountability Office (retired) Linda Triplett, director, Mississippi PEER Performance Accountability Office (retired) 
Linda Triplett is NLPES’ 2021 Outstanding Achievement Award recipient because she exemplifies the spirit and selection criteria for the award. Her 41-year tenure at Mississippi PEER illustrates her long-standing involvement in the field of program evaluation. She actively participated in NLPES and NCSL, ultimately serving on the executive committees for both. Linda is a mentor and role model for PEER staff and NLPES members across the country. 

A photo compilation of all members of the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee 
The New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee is the 2021 NLPES Excellence in Evaluation Award recipient. The work of the LFC Program Evaluation Unit positively affected state operations and made significant contributions to the fields of program evaluation and performance auditing. For example, the office identified more than $1 billion in cost savings, and it worked with at least two state legislatures to help set up new audit or evaluation offices. LFC staff are active in both NLPES and NCSL, with several LFC staff having served on the NLPES and NCSL executive committees. Locally, LFC staff serve on the community advisory board for the University of New Mexico’s master of public policy program. 

National Legislative Services and Security Association (NLSSA)

A photo of Dustin Morgan, deputy sergeant at arms, Florida SenateDustin Morgan, deputy sergeant-at-arms, Florida Senate
NLSSA selects Dustin Morgan to receive one of its 2021 Legislative Staff Achievement Awards. Dustin has worked for the Florida Senate for more than eight years. He is active in NLSSA, serving on the NLSSA Executive Board as the Region 4 chair. As chair, he coordinated a successful 2021 Region 4 meeting, working through COVID limitations. In 2019, he assisted with the NLSSA Annual Training Conference held in Tallahassee. His efforts to support the Florida Senate, NLSSA and Region 4 cannot be overlooked. He sets a great example for NLSSA members.

     

A photo of •	Lawrence Scott, supervisor, Office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms, South CarolinaLawrence Scott, supervisor, Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, South Carolina
NLSSA selects Lawrence Scott to receive one of its 2021 Legislative Staff Achievement Awards. He serves the South Carolina Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Office in an administrative role, supervising security for the Gressette Building. Faced with the challenges of new screening procedures, requirements for social distancing and special work schedule arrangements to avoid cross contamination due to COVID, he ensured the precautionary measures set for the South Carolina Senate were executed. His professionalism during the pandemic was a key factor in the continuation of legislative operations within the Gressette Building. He has been an active NLSSA member since he joined in 2019, showing a willingness to help whenever needed.

Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff Association (RELACS)

A photo of the Legislative Editing Team, Maryland Department of Legislative ServicesLegislative Editing Team, Maryland Department of Legislative Services
The Legislative Editing Team of the Maryland Department of Legislative Services was selected as the RELACS recipient of the Legislative Staff Achievement Award. This team took an untenable situation and turned it into an example of legislative staff tenacity. The team took the initiative to learn new software and create an electronic editing process for an office that had historically relied on paper and colored pens. The team created an interactive online training module to onboard seven new employees seamlessly. As the team’s directors said, “Simply put, they exceeded all reasonable expectations.” As active members of RELACS, these legislative editors have served on panels, participated in discussions and contributed to the value of meetings both in-person and virtual. 

A photo of Tanya Lieberman, chief consultant, California Assembly Committee on Education Richard Pearce, legal counsel to the clerk, South Carolina House of Representatives
Richard Pearce, legal counsel to the South Carolina House, is RELACS’ 2021 Legislative Staff Achievement Award recipient. His focus has been to assemble teams to conduct research, draft legislation and amendments, and talking points for debate. He is known for offering commonsense legal advice, and one member said he is adept at creating “word pictures that boil down complex legislative issues in a very comprehensible and useful manner.” His engagement with NCSL has included participating in webinars and other training and most recently serving as a guest on NCSL’s “Our American States” podcast to discuss representative democracy during the American Revolution.
 

2021 RELACS Special Commendation Award

Photo of David R. Miller, research administrator, Legislative Research Unit (LRU), Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, Illinois David R. Miller, research administrator, Legislative Research Unit (LRU), Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, Illinois
The Research, Editrial, Legal and Committee Staff Association selects David R. Miller to receive the RELACS Special Commendation Award for his 43 years of exemplary service to the Illinois General Assembly. During his tenure with the Research Unit, he was instrumental in the development of the agency and in the training of the research staff both in methodology and in communication for multiple generations. He has supported the legislative institution by helping to maintain a strong, nonpartisan research organization. His written work has contributed a body of work that is used regularly by the legislature and his expertise in several areas including the Illinois Constitution have been invaluable. His legal expertise is relied upon for complex nonpartisan analysis.

NCSL Standing Committees

Monique Appeaning, legislative fiscal analyst/special projects coordinator, Louisiana Fiscal Office
Monique Appeaning serves as a legislative fiscal analyst/special prjects coordinator for the Louisiana Legislative Fiscal Office; overall staff vice chair of the NCSL Standing Committee; member of the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee; member of the NCSL Executive Committee Task Force on Cybersecurity; member of the NCSL Budgets and Revenue Committee; and member and former staff co-chair and vice chair of the NCSL Law, Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. 

In Louisiana, she is part of a team that makes up an independent agency created by state law to provide factual and unbiased information to the legislature. With more than 20 years of government experience, she has worked in both the executive and legislative branches, which has provided her a unique perspective on governmental operations and financial management. Previously, she served as assistant commissioner of management and finance and deputy undersecretary with the Louisiana governor's Division of Administration and held the posts of planning analyst, budget analyst and budget manager. She also was deputy undersecretary at the Louisiana Department of State Civil Service. She is an active participant and frequent presenter in NCSL’s work. The organization and its members benefit from her knowledge of fiscal issues as they impact cybersecurity and criminal justice. She most recently co-authored the NCSL Cybersecurity Task Force’s “Budgeting for Cybersecurity” report and participated in the editing of the group’s most recent work product on cybersecurity governance. She is the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and the granddaughter of a World War II veteran. She holds a master's degree in public administration from the Nelson Mandela College of Government at Southern University A&M College.   

Tara Boockholdt, senior fiscal and policy analyst, Georgia House of Representatives
Tara serves as a senior fiscal and policy analyst for the Georgia House of Representatives and is staff vice chair of the NCSL Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee. 

She has been with the Georgia House Budget and Research Office (HRBO) since 2014. She staffs the Health Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees $18 billion in total public funds and includes the state’s Medicaid program, state employee health plan, medical education, public health department, and rural health care initiatives. Additionally, she staffs the Human Relations and Aging Committee, the Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care and the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee, and is responsible for the bill summaries and tracking for all legislation assigned to those committees. Tara has demonstrated consistent professionalism, ongoing dedication to promoting sound public policy through credible research and budgeting, as well as a work ethic that exceeds expectation. She is a sought-after expert in health care budgeting and is responsible for crafting over 20% of the state budget associated with the Department of Community Health (Medicaid, state health benefits and S-CHIP), as well as the Department of Public Health. Prior to working at HBRO, she spent three years working for the Georgia Senate Budget and Evaluation Office. She is the only person who has worked for both budget offices, which provides valuable insight into how the entire legislative budget process works in Georgia. In recognition of her expertise and involvement with NCSL’s HHS Standing Committee, she was selected to serve on the NCSL national health advisory board. She is an active participant and presenter in NCSL’s work and contributes to all three components of NCSL’s mission. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in public administration from Georgia State University. 

Legislative Education Staff Network (LESN)

A photo of LaMont Rainey, division legal counsel, Nebraska Legislative Research OfficeLaMont Rainey, division legal counsel, Nebraska Legislative Research Office

LaMont Rainey has served the Nebraska Legislature since graduating from law school in 1999, currently as legal counsel to the Nebraska Legislative Research Office and previously as legal counsel for the Education and Judiciary committees. His colleagues praise his competence, professionalism and integrity, calling his contributions “invaluable” and noting his mentorship and commitment to continuous learning. One senator said, “LaMont is one of those truly special staff members who make all elected officials look good. His knowledge is deep and his commitment to education policy is solid.”

Rainey has been a member of NCSL and LESN since 2008. He served as a member of the 2019 LESN Steering Committee and enthusiastically recruits new LESN members in Nebraska. LESN is proud to recognize and applaud his outstanding service to the Nebraska Legislature, to the network and to education policy.