Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee

Meeting Summary

Denver, Colorado
May 18, 2012  
 
Welcome and Introductions
Michael Adams, NCSL Staff Chair, opened the meeting and introduced LSCC members.  He encouraged members to attend Executive Committee sessions of interest the following day.
 
NCSL Executive Director’s Report
Bill Pound, NCSL Executive Director, told the LSCC that the FY 2012 budget is on target to finish the year in balance, and that the FY 2013 budget, which begins July 1, is a continuation budget.  He noted that the Executive Committee would be setting dues levels for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 at this meeting.  Bill indicated that NCSL’s online registration system for meetings has changed, and that NCSL is moving toward developing a mobile application of its website.  He also said that the organization is working with outside consultants on a website redesign, with two companies having been selected as finalists to submit proposals.  The goal is to have a website redesign in place by the start of the 2013 legislative sessions.  Bill emphasized that the process will involve in-depth interviews with website users, including LSCC staff.  Ed Smith, who currently does much of NCSL’s website work and is managing editor of State Legislatures magazine, will manage the website.
 
Bylaws—Proposed Amendment
Michael Adams reviewed a proposed amendment to NCSL’s bylaws that would add a fourth staff officer position, Staff Chair-Elect.  He described the process he put in place to study the proposal, which included a work group comprised of former NCSL Staff Chairs.  The work group recommended that no change be made to the bylaws at this time.  Michael opened the question for discussion.  Tom Wright, Executive Committee and LSCC member who authored the amendment, said he felt it would provide more continuity of service among staff and legislator officers, and give staff officers more time to develop their agendas and recruit staff to fill appointments.  In response to a question about what the risks might be of moving forward, a concern was raised that adding a fourth officer could reduce the pool of candidates by requiring another year’s commitment when staff are facing travel restrictions.  Michael suggested that it was not clear from the discussion what the benefits were, and that moving the amendment through NCSL’s policymaking process without such clarity could be problematic for its success.  Tom Wright offered a motion to defer consideration of the proposal, which was adopted.
 
Executive Committee Election
Michael Adams noted that the nominating procedures for Staff Vice Chair and At-Large Executive Committee candidates for 2012-2013 are posted on NCSL’s website.  The deadline for filing for Staff Vice Chair is July 1, and July 15 for Executive Committee.  Michael indicated that there were seven open seats for Executive Committee.  He said he was in the process of completing the appointment of a Staff Nominating Committee, and that Steve Miller, a former NCSL Staff Chair, will chair it.
 
Reports from LSCC Subcommittees
Institution, Support and Efficiencies.  Mike Sunseri, chair, delivered the subcommittee’s report.  He indicated that the “Legislative Service as a Career” initiative that began two years ago was complete, and all the videos are available at http://www.legislativecareers.org/.  Mike announced that Executive Committee and LSCC member John Bjornson was able to incorporate the Civility Accord adopted by the Executive Committee last year into the staff’s Model Code of Conduct.  Mike said that Executive Committee and LSCC member Gary Wieman is working with NCSL’s Brian Weberg on implementing the legislative staff self-assessment guide, and that LSCC member Melissa Calderwood is maintaining and updating staff membership lists and promoting inclusion of staff on panels at NCSL meetings.
 
Programs and Professional Development.  Tara Perkinson, chair, delivered the subcommittee’s report.  She announced that speakers for the two staff plenary sessions at Legislative Summit have been confirmed; Laree Kiely for the Legislative Staff University, and Mary Crane for the Tribute to Legislative Staff.  She said there will not be a Personal Staff Network track at Legislative Summit because of travel restrictions affecting personal staff.  Tara reviewed the work of the Young Professionals at Fall Forum and through webinars, and said the subcommittee recommended that the group emphasize outreach to “new” staff rather than just “young” staff to broaden participation.  NCSL’s Karl Kurtz gave an update on the Legislative Staff Management Institute and noted the application deadline is May 25; there are 12 applicants to date and the program is designed for 24 staff.  Tara complemented NCSL on the number of webinars it had conducted so far this year, and said the subcommittee will develop a flyer to remind staff sections and networks about the availability of e-learning grants for webinars. She said LSCC and NCSL staff are working on achieving consistency in how webinars are sponsored and marketed.
 
Communications, Community and Collaboration.  Holly Lyons, chair, delivered the subcommittee’s report.  She described a new LSCC mentoring program that would pair an existing LSCC member with a new member to help staff better understand how LSCC and NCSL operate and what their role is; the program would be managed by the Immediate Past Staff Chair.  Holly noted that the subcommittee had explored new ways to use Facebook and Twitter to recruit staff.  She suggested that LSCC and NCSL consider developing a certification program to acknowledge staff that had completed professional development requirements similar to credits received through continuing legal education.  Holly concluded her remarks by noting that 44 percent of staff that had attended the 2011 Legislative Summit were not affiliated with a staff section; this demonstrated a need for greater outreach to those staff.
 
Reports from Tactical and Technical Teams
Strategic Planning.  Patsy Spaw, NCSL Staff Vice Chair, delivered the team’s report.  She recommended that LSCC develop more formalized guidelines on how to engage staff in NCSL activities.  She plans to send an e-newsletter to all legislative staff, and to work with staff section officers to better inform staff about what the staff sections do.  Part of this outreach would include training for staff section officers on what their role is within LSCC.  Patsy said she was reviewing past LSCC subcommittee organization charts to determine what type of structure might work best next year.  She plans to develop LSCC subcommittee notebooks containing clear responsibilities to help guide each group’s work. 
 
Report from Executive Committee Working Group to Review Committee Structure and Policy Development
John Bjornson, co-chair, delivered the group’s report.  He said the group would recommend that terms of office for staff co-chairs and vice chairs move back from two years to one year, with the co-chair structure remaining the same.  The working group also may consider merging several standing committees:  Energy and Transportation; Elections and Legislative Effectiveness; and Health with Human Services.  John cautioned that those decisions have not been finalized.
 
Reports from Tactical and Technical Teams (cont.)
Standing Committee Issues and Planning.  Linda Pittsford and Chuck Truesdell, co-chairs, delivered the team’s report.  They said the staff appointment form has been revised, and that they are conducting a survey of staff involvement in the standing committees and NCSL webinars.
 
NCSL Website Testing and Feedback.  Gary Wieman, chair, delivered the team’s report.  He noted that team members had reviewed a prototype of NCSL’s online meeting registration system, and that changes made in the system have made it easier for staff to register.  He said the team reviewed the Talmey-Drake survey results of NCSL’s website and found some “disconnects” between the level of use and the website’s rating, which suggests a need for additional research to clarify.  Gary noted that NCSL has added a Google search function, and that NCSL is having outside consultants review the website.  The team expressed interest in receiving an annual report on website use statistics.
 
NCSL Support and Operation Issues.  Martha Carter, chair, delivered the team’s report.  She indicated that LSCC and NCSL’s Larry Morandi are tracking requests for support made by LSCC of NCSL staff to find ways to improve or enhance the services provided.
 
Staff Section Officers.  Jay Pearson, vice chair, delivered the officers’ report.  He summarized three of the topics addressed:  1) tracking staff registration for Legislative Summit and the “Super” PDS in Madison in October to determine the PDS’ effect on Legislative Summit attendance; 2) the availability of e-learning grants for staff section webinars in FY 2013; and 3) scheduling an informal new staff section officers’ “meet-and-greet” session at Legislative Summit since the new-member orientation will be conducted through a webinar later in the year.
 
Other Business
Michael Adams reviewed the International Program at Legislative Summit and urged LSCC members to participate if available.  He reminded LSCC subcommittees and teams that he soon would request final reports of the year’s activities.
 
The meeting adjourned.