Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee

Meeting Summary

Quebec City, Canada
September 30, 2011

Welcome and Introductions

Michael Adams, NCSL Staff Chair, called the meeting to order and introduced LSCC members. 

Preview of the Executive Committee Meeting

Michael Adams reviewed the Executive Committee agenda for the following day and encouraged LSCC staff to attend sessions of interest. 

Reports from LSCC Subcommittees

Michael Adams noted that he had reduced the number of subcommittees from four to three, and had established six tactical and technical teams to focus on specific issues. 

Programs and Professional Development. Tara Perkinson, chair, delivered the subcommittee report. The subcommittee discussed upcoming webinars, which will include legal issues in the workplace and social media. The Legislative Summit will include one less Legislative Staff University session than last year but more time for staff sections. The Young Professionals group and Personal Staff Network also will sponsor sessions. Planning for the Legislative Staff Management Institute will begin with a conference call before the January 2012 Executive Committee/LSCC meeting to develop an agenda. 

Communication, Community and Collaboration Subcommittee. Holly Lyons, chair, delivered the subcommittee report. A major question before the subcommittee is defining what staff “participation” really means; is it limited to meeting attendance or are there other more effective vehicles to generate interest and engagement. A primary focus is finding relevant information for legislative staff on NCSL’s website and making sure it is easily accessible. The use of social media represents the best opportunity to communicate with young legislative staff. There should be greater recognition of the value the Legislative Staff Management Institute plays as a professional development tool for legislative staff.   

NCSL Executive Director’s Report

Bill Pound, NCSL Executive Director, said that NCSL ended FY 2011 with a larger budget surplus than expected, and that the organization is operating within budget for FY 2012, with 56 percent of state dues collected to date. He updated the LSCC on the status of current and recently completed staff section professional development seminars—ASLCS is currently meeting in Branson, Mo., with a projected attendance of 177; NLPES met in Denver, Sept. 19-21, with an attendance of 96; and NLSSA also met in Denver, Sept. 18-23, with an attendance of 44. Bill noted that NALIT and RACSS will be meeting in Portland, Ore., Oct. 2-5. Bill reminded staff of the new member orientation session scheduled for the following day. He noted a change in the name of the Executive Committee’s Programs and Strategic Planning Subcommittee, which will now be called Member Outreach and Communications. He said the federal deficit reduction task force is making little progress, with potential implications for state budgets. He concluded his remarks by indicating that the 2012 Legislative Summit will have four plenary sessions instead of three as was the case in 2011.

Reports from LSCC Subcommittees (cont.)

Institution, Support and Efficiencies. Gary Wieman, vice chair, delivered the subcommittee report. Only two of 10 videos remain to be completed for the Legislative Service as a Career project; the next step is to market them effectively. There also is a need to better advertise the Legislative Staff Achievement Awards presented at Legislative Summit. Karl Kurtz, Director of the NCSL Trust for Representative Democracy, is preparing a paper about the survey of challenges facing legislative staff conducted at Legislative Summit. Brian Weberg, Director of NCSL’s Legislative Management Program, is finishing up the legislative staff self-assessment guide. NCSL also is trying to develop a list of top speakers for use at future meetings. The subcommittee continues to monitor the new Young Professionals group at NCSL. The Model Code of Conduct is being edited.

Reports from Tactical and Technical Teams

NCSL Website and Testing Feedback. Gary Wieman, chair, delivered the team report. The team is looking at the NCSL search engine to determine how easy it is to find relevant items; i.e., how far a user has to “drill down” to find what he/she is looking for. The team also is reviewing the meeting registration software to ensure that the process runs smoothly.  

NCSL Support and Operation Issues. Jan Yamane, vice chair, delivered the team report. The team is trying to serve in a liaison capacity between LSCC subcommittees and technical/tactical teams and NCSL staff to ensure that everyone understands what types of support services are being requested of NCSL. It has assigned a member to track requests for NCSL staff support by each subcommittee and tactical/technical team and will report to NCSL on the status of requests before the January 2012 Executive Committee/LSCC meeting in Kiawah Island, S.C. 

Senior Staff and Director Relationship Building. Holly Lyons, chair, delivered the team report. The team’s primary goal is to determine why more senior legislative staff are not participating in NCSL activities. It is examining ideas on how to promote NCSL services to senior staff.  

Staff Section Officers. Jay Pearson, vice chair, delivered the officers’ report. The officers continued their focus on considering hub sites for professional development seminars. Kae Warnock, Policy Specialist in NCSL’s Legislative Management Program, has created a listserv that includes LSSS, NALIT, LINCS, NLSSA, RACSS and LRL members to discuss dates and locations for a joint meeting in fall 2012. Possible dates include Sept. 24-28 and Oct. 8-12 in Madison, Wis. LSSS has not held a PDS since 2008 and its officers feel it is critical to meet in 2012. Instead of conducting an orientation session for new staff section officers at Legislative Summit, the group discussed holding a webinar in the fall after the PDS and election of all new staff section officers. The cost of a webinar is roughly $2,300.   

Standing Committee Issues and Planning. Chuck Truesdell, co-chair, delivered the team’s report. Molly Ramsdell, Co-Director of NCSL’s State-Federal Relations Division, updated the team on the recommendations of the Executive Committee’s Work Group to Review Committee Structure and Policy Development. The team discussed concerns with the new committee member appointment process—getting approval for staff to serve two-year terms instead of one (travel constraints), and having the Staff Chair and Vice Chair make dual appointments when the Vice Chair has just been elected at Legislative Summit (time and experience constraints). The team is looking at more effective ways to recruit staff to serve on committees and educate them on their roles as committee officers and members. Michael Adams echoed the team’s concerns about the new committee member appointment process. He asked staff serving on the Executive Committee work group to raise the issues at its meeting later in the day. 

Other Business

Tim Rice, Immediate Past Staff Chair, discussed a mentoring program for new Executive Committee staff members to help them better understand how the committee works and what their roles might be. He proposed a similar concept for new staff section officers. 

Michael Adams thanked the LSCC members and NCSL staff for their participation and adjourned the meeting.