Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee

Meeting Summary

Boston, Massachusetts
May 31, 2013
Welcome and Introductions
Tom Wright, NCSL Staff Vice Chair, opened the meeting and indicated that Patsy Spaw, NCSL Staff Chair, was not able to attend due to session requirements and personal commitments.  He had each member of the committee introduce themselves.
NCSL Executive Director’s Report
Bill Pound, NCSL Executive Director, described various components of NCSL’s proposed FY 2014 budget.  Revenue is budgeted at 88 percent of requested dues payments, up from the FY 2013 figure of 85 percent.  The budget would include a merit increase salary pool and funds for position reclassifications to make NCSL more competitive in the Denver and Washington, D.C. markets.  The budget does not include a Spring Forum in 2014, and includes consolidation of standing committees with two committee mergers.  Bill indicated that the Dues Subcommittee would meet later in the afternoon to consider various options, including grouping states by categories with the same dues payment, and capping dues for larger states.  He noted some proposed NCSL bylaws changes related to what constitutes Executive Committee ex-officio membership, and the status of participation in NCSL by states that do not pay the full dues request.  Michael Adams, NCSL Immediate Past Staff Chair, expressed concern about any bylaws changes that would affect staff participation in NCSL by states that failed to pay the full dues request.
Reports from LSCC Subcommittees
Programs, Professional Development and Outreach.  Paula Dominguez, chair, presented the subcommittee’s report.  She said both speakers for the staff plenary sessions at Legislative Summit in Atlanta have been confirmed—Phil Boyle, President, Leading and Governing Associates, and Public Service Associate, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia, for the Legislative Staff University, August 13; and Art Hamilton, former NCSL President and CEO of the Art Hamilton Group, for the Legislative Staff Achievement Luncheon, August 14.  Paul Danczyk, co-director of the Legislative Staff Management Institute, presented options to the subcommittee for integrating e-technology into LSMI, and said 35 staff had registered for LSMI this year.  Paula highlighted the LSCC-sponsored webinar entitled “Courteous and Effective Communication: Social Media and Email” with Anna Post, scheduled for June 13.  She said NCSL’s Deputy Executive Director Nancy Rhyme presented the subcommittee with an update of recent NCSL staff outreach activities.  Paula concluded her remarks by summarizing discussions about Statehouse Ambassadors, which suggested that the program may have outlived its purpose at this point.
Legislative Institution.  Tara Perkinson, chair, presented the subcommittee’s report.  She said the LSCC bylaws group chaired by John Bjornson should have a draft of the new bylaws for LSCC review by July 1, with formal consideration and adoption at the Legislative Summit in August.  She summarized the progress of the group chaired by Ann Cornwell in preparing LSCC subcommittee notebooks that would contain resources for use by future subcommittees to ensure some degree of continuity in LSCC deliberations.  Tara described the work being done by the group chaired by Julie Pelegrin in creating mentoring and orientation programs for new LSCC members.  This included better communication about what it means to serve on LSCC and NCSL’s Executive Committee, and a career ladder of different paths for staff to take within NCSL to achieve their professional development objectives.
Information Technology and NCSL Website Review.  Chuck Truesdell, chair, delivered the first of four subcommittee work group reports.  He said the subcommittee received a demonstration of NCSL’s new website from Ed Smith, NCSL’s Director of Digital Communications.  The subcommittee felt the new website was clean, intuitive and easier to navigate.  He said it would be important to develop policies and procedures to maintain the website, and to develop a mobile application.  Chuck indicated that the new website would launch in late September.
Ken Levine discussed the subcommittee’s review of the Legislative Summit App.  He said unresolved issues included receiving program updates and alerts, and correcting time zones and calendars.  He said the searchable features and networking functions were good, and a video would be developed to demonstrate how to use the app.
Martha Cater discussed the subcommittee’s review of webinars and e-learning.  The subcommittee recommended that a “how-to” user friendly document be posted online about producing and conducting webinars by LSCC staff.
Peter Capriglione discussed the subcommittee’s review of legislative technology in the states.  He said the subcommittee would release a survey in June for information technology managers to obtain meaningful data about the status of technology in state legislatures, including anticipated technological advances.
Reports from LSCC Work Groups
Staff Section Officers.  Peggy Piety, chair, delivered the work group’s report.  She was pleased that all 10 staff sections had representation at the meeting.  She said Ed Smith presented a demonstration of how the staff section web pages will look on NCSL’s new website.  Peggy noted that all 10 staff sections will hold professional development seminars this year—LRL in Boise, Sept. 18-20; NLPES and NLSSA in Austin, Sept. 22-24; LINCS- in Washington, D.C., Sept. 30-Oct. 1; NALFO in Annapolis, Oct. 7-9; ASLCS in Sacramento, Oct. 8-12; LSS, LSSS and RACSS in Denver, Oct. 9-11; and NALIT in Raleigh, Oct. 15-18.  She reported that in addition to staff section-sponsored webinars already conducted this year, NALFO, LSSS, NLPES and NALIT were planning webinars.  The work group recommended that a “how-to” webinar be ready for Legislative Summit in August.  Peggy noted that Patsy Spaw wanted to acknowledge each of the staff section Legislative Staff Achievement Award winners at the Legislative Staff Achievement Luncheon in Atlanta, and that there was some concern about the early morning/late afternoon meeting time slots for staff sections at Legislative Summit.
Standing Committees.  Jan Yamane presented the work group’s report.  She noted that attendance at the Spring Forums had declined each year since 2008, and that part of the problem related to the forum dates (too many legislatures still in session).  She emphasized the importance of encouraging more participation by staff on Standing Committees even if travel restrictions prevented attendance at the forums.  Jan suggested that the proliferation of task forces has hurt the Standing Committees, creating uncertainty about responsibilities and jurisdiction.  She said the work group would encourage Standing Committees to submit ideas for webinars and to conduct orientations for new members.
Strategic Planning.  Tom Wright presented the work group’s report.  He said his focus is on improving the recruitment of staff to participate in NCSL activities.  He suggested LSCC and NCSL identify staff registered for Legislative Summit by interest area—e.g., policy or staff section—and contact them in advance of the meeting to keep them involved at the summit and throughout the year.  He asked all staff sections to develop a list of the top 5-10 reasons for their success and to share them with other staff sections.  He emphasized the importance of identifying states with limited NCSL participation and to begin making contacts with staff in those states.
Other Business
Staff Ethics Video.  LSCC viewed NCSL’s new staff ethics video entitled “The Compass: Navigating Ethics for Legislative Staff,” prepared by NCSL’s Center for Ethics and Government as a professional development tool.  Feedback on the video was very positive, with numerous requests for the DVD.
Staff Nominating Committee.  Tom Wright noted that NCSL will post on its website the week of June 10 a memo from Patsy Spaw seeking nominations from staff for positions of Staff Vice Chair and at-large members of NCSL’s Executive Committee for conference year 2013-14.  There are three open seats on Executive Committee.  The deadline for letters of candidacy for Staff Vice Chair is July 1, and July 15 for at-large members of Executive Committee.  Letters of support must be received by August 1.  Discussion followed about the number of at-large open seats on Executive Committee this year compared to last year, the reasons for the differences, and options to even them out.  Michael Adams emphasized the importance of staff service on Executive Committee.
Tom Wright closed the meeting with an announcement that today is the last day to qualify for early bird registration fee discounts for Legislative Summit.  The meeting adjourned.