2010 NLPES Executive Committee Elections
Statements of the Candidates
Mitzi B. Ferguson, CPA, CFE
As a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Fraud Examiner, I spent the first 20 years of my career in financial audits for the Arkansas Division of Legislative Audit. In 2000, the Arkansas General Assembly asked the Division to begin conducting performance audits. NLPES provided excellent assistance and advice as we entered this new service area for our Legislature. The training and network of professionals we found in NLPES helped us find direction at every turn.
Two years ago I decided it was my turn to be of service to NLPES and I ran for the Executive Committee. Service on the Executive Committee has been very rewarding and I hope to continue that service and commitment to the ongoing goals of NLPES.
In these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever for program evaluators and performance auditors to have the skills and knowledge to provide legislators with reliable, timely information to make sound decisions. If elected, I would continue the efforts of the Executive Committee to provide additional educational opportunities. I would also work to increase NLPES participation so we can remain a strong organization that continues to provide a forum for the sharing of ideas and experiences.
I have served on the NLPES Executive Committee since 2009. Currently, I am a performance audit manager with the Colorado Office of the State Auditor. I have a B.A. in political science from Knox College and a M.A. in political science from the University of Colorado-Boulder. I have been involved in many different performance audits ranging from Medicaid long-term care programs, to homeland security, to highway design and construction contract management. I am a Certified Government Auditing Professional and a Certified Fraud Examiner. As a member of the Executive Committee, I am most interested in continuing our efforts to ensure effective communication and sharing of ideas, practices, and approaches. Our membership is quite varied, yet we face many of the same challenges in our work. We can learn a lot from one another. By providing opportunities for professional development, I hope to keep NLPES relevant for everyone from entry-level staff to upper management.
I have been with the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office for seventeen years, ten of which have been as a Performance Audit Manager. Through the years I’ve had the opportunity to oversee audits on a wide variety of audit subjects that cover the executive, judicial and legislative branches. In addition, I also manage the actuarial section in our office. I am a Certified Internal Auditor and a Certified Government Auditing Professional. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and a Master of Public Administration degree with an emphasis in internal auditing. I am a past chairman of the performance audit committee of the Southwest Intergovernmental Audit Forum and also served on the Performance Measurement Advisory Committee for the Sloan/IIA State and Local Government Performance Measurement Project.
In these challenging times, the staff section of NLPES is an essential resource for all members. My proposed goals for the staff section are to:
- continue the focus on coordinating the information exchange among its members
- explore alternative methods for delivering training
- expand the resources available through the NLPES website
I have worked at the Florida Legislature’s evaluation office, OPPAGA, for over 20 years, reviewing a wide range of issues from phosphate mining to death row. I now serve as deputy director. One of the things that I most enjoy about our profession is also most appealing about serving on the NLPES executive committee: the opportunity to keep learning new things.
NLPES provides us the opportunity to learn as much as we can from each other to help solve problems in our own states and make our offices as productive as possible. As a committee member my primary focus has been to work with others to create a NLPES website library of slideshows, podcasts, and webinars from all our offices to expand training opportunities and help us hear new ideas even as our office training budgets shrink. I am helping Louisiana staff prepare for their upcoming conference in Baton Rouge and as vice-chair have been working with other staff sections on co-locating future conferences to lower costs. I would like to return to the committee to continue networking leadership and skills training and just plain interesting ideas we all have about ways to add value to our legislatures.
Tricia D. Oftana
Aloha and Hafa Adai! I took an indirect route to Hawaii’s Office of the Auditor via public accounting firms in Washington D.C., and an automotive dealership in Guam. I have my BA, Accounting from the Catholic University of America and am a CPA and CFE.
In four years with the office, I successfully leveraged off my financial audit background to conduct management audits. Work history includes managing financial audits of public utilities and a port authority, performing contract administration for financial audits, and overseeing management audits of an irrigation system, public housing, and procurement audits for various entities.
I attended NLPES training in Charleston, WV and Madison, WI and participated in planning for Hawaii 2009. Although training was cancelled, we embarked on an innovative path to partner up with the Association of Government Accountants and bring Hawaii to the NLPES membership through webcasts.
If elected I want to continue on that path, utilizing technology to provide relevant and cost-effective training. One of my goals is to develop stronger collaborative efforts between offices and other audit/performance evaluation organizations. I will continue the work of the members before me, providing resources to members to aid delivery of useful and informative work product.