The Working Paper



Picture of NLPES Chair Wayne Kidd

Chair's Corner | Wayne Kidd (Utah)

Spring 2015—We have all had eventful winters! Some areas had too much snow, others not enough. As summer approaches we move into the eventful season for NLPES.  The NLPES Executive Committee met in April to plan upcoming training opportunities. I would like to bring a few items to your attention.

The NCSL Legislative Summit, NCSL’s annual conference, offers an excellent training opportunity. This year the Summit will be held Aug. 3-6 in Seattle. NLPES will be co-sponsoring training events at the Summit.  The Summit will be a great opportunity to do some deep topic diving! 

Mark your calendars to attend the NLPES Professional Development Seminar (PDS) in Denver on Oct. 11-14! Thanks to the Colorado Office of the State Auditor for hosting the PDS. This is a great opportunity to network and learn from your program evaluator peers in other states. As former NLPES Chair Karl Spock has said, “The PDS is the crown jewel for our staff section.” As a bonus, The Curtis—Denver, the hotel where the PDS will be held, is in a great downtown location. There are numerous places nearby to get good food and drinks—just ask Executive Committee member Linda Triplett about the “honey pot” (which I also recommend!).

Many offices have been busy this spring, submitting applications for the NLPES awards (deadline was May 8, 2015). Thank you for submitting applications that showcase your hard work. Winners will be announced this summer, and awards will be presented at the PDS in Denver. Thanks to the judges for their efforts!

I hope you thought the webinar broadcast last December on pivot tables was useful. There was some trouble with connections; sorry for the technical difficulties. The professional development subcommittee, chaired by Katrin Osterhaus, is planning on another webinar this summer, on ethics. Stay tuned for more information.

Congratulations to Nathalie Molliet-Ribet (Virginia) on being re-elected to the Executive Committee, and welcome to Patricia Berger (Pennsylvania) and Shunti Taylor (Georgia)! We had three positions to fill on the Executive Committee this year, and three candidates. Since the number of candidates equaled the open positions, we did not send ballots to members. In accordance with our procedures, the Executive Committee approved those candidates to fill the open positions.

I am pleased to report that the NLPES listserv has the most traffic of all NCSL staff sections. Our listserv is also a valuable tool that allows us to ask questions and share valuable information among our peers. Keep posting! It is a pleasure to work and associate with you, our valued NLPES members, in the incredible field of evaluation. I hope to see you in Seattle or Denver!  

Wayne Kidd is the 2014–2015 NLPES Executive Committee Chair. He can be reached at


Current Affairs—Changes in Federal Spending:  How Should Program Evaluators Respond? | Ian Green (Oregon)

For the past 40 years, the Congressional Budget Office has been issuing independent, nonpartisan projections of federal spending

Why do you need to know this? Because state programs often depend on federal support. If federal support falls, it will have a major impact on the programs you evaluate. You can help your state avoid costly decisions down the road by preparing for these changes now.

Image of a chart about federal spending on the major health care programs by categoryThe short story of CBO’s projections is that federal support for medical programs will expand and discretionary spending will shrink in the future.

Medical programs on the rise

CBO projects that the share of federal spending on medical programs will increase by approximately 70 percent over the next 25 years. CBO notes “the number of people receiving benefits from government programs will increase sharply during the next two decades.”

Key medical programs include Medicaid, Medicare, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and health insurance subsidies as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

What’s driving up medical costs? According to CBO, there are three primary drivers: 1) an aging population requires more medical care; 2) medical costs continue to grow faster than inflation; 3) the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA and its related subsidies.  Aging accounts for roughly 55 percent of the growth, increasing medical cost inflation per beneficiary accounts for 24 percent, and the ACA accounts for the remaining 21 percent.

Image of chart about number of people age 65 or older by age groupOn average, the federal government pays 60 percent of the costs of Medicaid.  As medical costs continue to grow, states will also face rising expenses for their 40 percent match. CBO predicts that many state governments will manage rising Medicaid costs by restraining rates paid to providers, limiting services covered or tightening eligibility to reduce the number of beneficiaries.

Discretionary spending will decline

Since the 1970’s discretionary spending has been falling. CBO believes this trend will continue for decades to come. What used to amount to half of federal spending has declined to approximately a third in recent years. Over the next few decades, it will decline even further.

Discretionary spending spans a wide array of government programs. The list is too exhaustive to name them all, but includes programs in education, workforce development, social services, transportation, housing, research and public health, criminal justice, and natural resources.

It’s likely you can see at least one program in your workload that will face challenging fiscal times in the future.

Chart about other federal noninterest spending What does this mean for program evaluators?

Program evaluators should consider these projections within the context of their work. Programs with declining federal support are at risk for fiscal problems in the decade to come. By evaluating such programs with an expectation that funding will dry up, we can make recommendations for them to get their fiscal house in order before the roof collapses.

For medical programs, look for waste. Gear your evaluations around cost effectiveness and tie outcome measures to program costs.  As states take on increasing financial responsibilities over the ACA expansion, also consider how this might pose new fiscal challenges for your state. A key legislator in Oregon recently said that two thirds of increased revenue in the state’s next budget cycle is being directed to Medicaid. That leaves few dollars on the table for other programs with growing expenses.

Uncertainty and changes in law

Long-term forecasts are subject to a high degree of uncertainty. Keep in mind that these numbers can and will change. For example, if a new cost-effective cure for cancer is developed in the next decade, this will have a major impact on medical spending.

Changes in the law will also have a major impact on CBO’s projections. For example, if the Supreme Court or a future Congress repeals provisions of the ACA, it will dramatically change how much money is spent by the federal government on Medicaid.

Ian Green is a Senior Auditor with the Oregon Secretary of State. He can be reached at

Image of a magnifying glass over a document

Report Radar—Roundup of Evaluations from Across the Country | Angus Maciver (Montana)

Spring has sprung, legislative sessions are winding down (for some of us), and, to add to the general sense of well-being across the nation, here is a new edition of Report Radar! The first quarter of the year has already been a busy one for the world’s hardest working auditors and evaluators; behold the fruits of our labor!  We have some top-notch reports to summarize for you, addressing such topics as implementation of the Affordable Care Act, transportation, K-12 education, corrections, and other miscellaneous issues.                                                                                     

ACA takes hold. Unless you have spent the last five years living on the moon, you will have noticed the introduction of some new federal legislation known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As different parts of the ACA have been implemented at the state level, some of our member offices have been called in to evaluate them. We have three examples to share with you from recent months. In December 2014 the Arkansas Division of Legislative Audit released a report on the state’s Medicaid private option program. This updates information from previous reporting on the accuracy of information relating to ACA implementation in the state. For states implementing their own ACA exchanges, reports from Hawai‘i and Minnesota will be of interest:  the January Hawaii report addresses the financial sustainability of its state exchange, the Hawai‘i Health Connector, including problems relating to planning and procurement. The February Minnesota report also addresses problems with establishing Minnesota’s state exchange, MNSure. All these reports are good places to start if you are looking at ACA implementation in your state.

Transportation—it’s a bumpy road.  As the federal highway trust fund goes into the red and gasoline prices plummet, more states are anxiously eyeing funding for transportation needs. Our friends in Michigan released a report in March addressing the state’s bridge inspection program. Assessing the condition of bridges and estimating maintenance needs has been a common theme over the past few years—in another example, this time from Washington in January, estimates for both pavement and bridge maintenance and preservation needs were addressed and an external consultant’s work is featured. Funding challenges are also front-and-center in a January report from Tennessee, which summarizes the outlook for transportation funding and various options for addressing future problems. One of the options addressed in the Tennessee report is public-private partnerships; implementation of this funding approach is the also the subject of a March report from Colorado. That report looked at a specific public-private partnership highway project and made recommendations for improving future management of these contracting models.

K–12 education heats up.  A February report from Idaho addressed implementation of a longitudinal data system in the state’s schools. Many states have developed, or are developing, IT systems to track student performance over time and this report provides a good overview of impacts on local school districts entering and using the data.  Another innovation in the education area is the introduction of virtual learning, and our people in Kansas released a report in January addressing costs and student performance for the state’s virtual schools initiative. Teacher evaluation is another hot topic in the education world, and reports in February and March from the Tennessee Office of Research and Educational Accountability gave a close look at the state’s teacher evaluation process as well as comparative information for other states.

Corrections is all locked up.  Corrections is a well-worn theme for Report Radar and we have two reports looking at classifying and managing certain types of offenders.  First is a report from the Nebraska Legislative Audit Office, released in November 2014, which addressed disciplinary processes and programs in the state’s corrections department. The report includes findings relating to classification of prisoners with mental health issues, commitment processes for sex offenders, and the use of segregation and solitary confinement. Another report on dealing with sex offenders was released by California in March. It addressed the state’s sex offender commitment program and the processes used to evaluate how certain offenders should be classified. Both reports are quality products and should be required reading if you are looking at similar issues in your state.

Miscellany galore!  Finally, let us quickly review some miscellaneously interesting reports from around the membership, some of which build on work discussed before in Report Radar. We are still seeing a lot of traffic relating to child protective services and related child neglect and abuse issues; West Virginia released a report on this topic in January and we have another from Arizona in March. If you are asked to review performance of state lottery games or operations, you will likely be interested in reports from South Carolina released in October, Florida in January and/or Louisiana in March.  Other recently discussed issues are also surfacing elsewhere through the earlier part of the year, including veterans’ homes in Connecticut, film and TV production incentives in Minnesota, university system funding in Wyoming, and professional and occupational licensing in North Carolina

Good work, everybody, good work! We could take the rest of year off, but we know there is always more to audit or evaluate, so see you in the next edition of Report Radar.

Angus Maciver is the Deputy Legislative Auditor for the Montana Legislative Audit Division. He can be reached at

Picture of a North Carolina legislative office building

State Profile—North Carolina's Program Evaluation Division | Sara Nienow (North Carolina)

North Carolina’s Program Evaluation Division (PED) helps its state legislature to oversee government functions. Legislators often ask how state policies are being implemented, how money is being spent and what results are being achieved. PED addresses such questions through program evaluations, recommends policy options for programs that are ineffective or no longer necessary, and follows up to determine if recommendations have been implemented by agencies or further action is needed.

New organization on the block: Unlike most other states, North Carolina did not have a permanent legislative audit and program evaluation office until 2007, when it hired John Turcotte. Turcotte had 37 years of experience in program evaluation and had previously headed Mississippi’s PEER and Florida’s OPPAGA. He had also assisted Maine in creating its Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPEGA). When establishing N.C.’s PED, Turcotte strove to design an office that would be highly interactive with legislators, from formulating evaluation ideas to developing legislation based on PED recommendations.

Staffing up: Although North Carolina is one of the 10 most populous states, PED has just 14 full-time staff. Throughout its history, PED has sought to increase its capacity by engaging interns, partnering with other legislative divisions, and seeking opportunities for time-limited employees. In 2013, PED was one of 19 nonprofit and governmental organizations nationwide selected by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) for its prestigious Public Fellows Program. The ACLS Public Fellows Program places recent Ph.D.s from the humanities and humanistic social sciences in two-year staff positions at partnering organizations and is funded by a grant from The Andrew W.  Mellon Foundation. The purpose of the program is to expand the reach of doctoral education in the U.S. by demonstrating that capacities developed in the advanced study of humanities have wide application, both within and beyond academia.

PED’s fellow, Meg Kunde, has a doctorate in Political Rhetoric from the University of Minnesota. Kunde worked on several important team evaluations and led an evaluation on the state’s use of personal service contracts. The opportunity to work with PED has shaped her career path and will continue to influence her future work.

Making an impact: PED has been very active during its first eight years, producing 80 reports with the General Assembly enacting legislation based on 29 of them. At present, recommendations adopted by PED’s directing committee, the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee (JLPEOC), and implemented by agencies or the General Assembly save the state $25.2 million annually. An additional $30.9 million in nonrecurring savings have also been implemented based on PED’s recommendations.

In 2014, NLPES honored PED with its Excellence in Evaluation award, which is given to only one office each year. NLPES recognized PED for demonstrating value and positive impact to the state, lauding the readability and effectiveness of PED reports and the high quality and volume of its work in light of its relatively small size. PED reports have also won five NLPES Impact awards and seven NCSL Notable Document awards.

PED actively contributes to NLPES and NCSL by presenting work at NLPES’s annual professional development seminars and serving in standing committee leadership positions. In 2014, PED hosted the NLPES annual professional development seminar for the first time. PED was pleased to be selected as the host state for this important networking event and to have the opportunity to welcome colleagues and friends to its state capitol


Tips & Tricks—Consider an NLPES Peer Review | Lisa Kieffer (Georgia)

As an evaluator or performance auditor, you have already bought into the value of external review. You know the benefit of having an informed outside party review performance and assess against a standard. You value the recommendations for improvement that come from such reviews and evaluations—because that’s what you provide to the programs, agencies or offices that you review on a day-to-day basis! An NLPES Peer Review provides these same benefits to your office: an independent review of your operations by peers who work in similar organizations. In addition, it is a significant professional development opportunity for staff who serve as peer reviewers.

Your peer review may be mandated to meet Yellow Book or Red Book standards, required by your state’s law or identified as a method of obtaining feedback on your performance. Whichever scenario fits your office, NLPES provides an independent, objective review—most important, conducted by experienced individuals who do the same work you do.  

In its most general sense, a peer review determines whether an office’s system of quality control is suitably designed and whether the office complies with that system, resulting in products that meet applicable standards. NLPES’ process offers advantages because the staff who perform peer reviews are generally very experienced, management-level individuals who can bring a broad vision to the review. In addition, NLPES is able to tailor reviews and involve the office in planning the review to identify specific areas or issues to include within the review’s scope. For example, one office requested that the review process include an assessment of the office’s staff training program. Another office asked that the process include interviews with legislative stakeholders, as their feedback was of particular interest to the office. NLPES’ ability to provide a flexible approach to peer review planning allows for more in-depth assessments of managerial and programmatic areas that go beyond focusing solely on audit or evaluation standards. Its ability to bring experienced, management-level staff on board as peer reviewers lends credibility to NLPES’ peer reviews and provides a resource for the host office.

In addition to benefits the host office receives, reviewers are offered an unparalleled opportunity for professional development. Reviewers work together as a team to evaluate a member office and understand how it has interpreted and implemented the standards it seeks to employ.  Reviewers discuss and debate what is observed and how it does or does not address the applicable standards. Reviewers are also able to observe how another office has interpreted the same or similar standards their own offices use, and to observe the results of those applications. Assessing the pros and cons of various approaches can inform what reviewers take back to their own offices. As a group that, by definition, is continuously seeking ways to be more effective and efficient, peer review offers reviewers an inside look at alternatives for consideration.

NLPES Peer Reviews benefit host offices by providing an objective and independent review conducted by experienced individuals who do the same work, which should assist in making operational improvements. It also provides benefits to reviewers by providing an opportunity to observe, assess, and consider alternatives or options that may be beneficial in their own offices.

Lisa Kieffer is the Executive Committee’s immediate past chair and current chair of the Peer Review Subcommittee. She can be contacted at

Image of the words "Blast from the Past"

Blast from the Past—32 Reasons State Agencies Give for Not Following Audit Recommendations

This is the third in a series of ‘oldie but goodie’ articles culled from past issues of the NLPES newsletter. We trust you will find it equally as entertaining as it was upon first publication.

This list first appeared in the July 1988 issue of the LPES News.

We’ve never done it before.
Nobody else has ever done it.
It has never been tried before.
We tried it before.
Another department tried it before.
We’ve been doing it this way for 10 years.
It won’t work in a small agency.
It won’t work in a large agency.
It won’t work in our agency.
Why change—it’s working OK.
The governor will never buy it.
It needs further investigation.
Other states are not doing it.
It’s too much trouble to change.
Our state is different.
The planning division says it can’t be done.
The operations division says it can’t be done.
The finance division says it can’t be done.
The janitor says it can’t be done.
It can’t be done.
We don’t have the money.
We don’t have the personnel.
We don’t have the equipment.
The unions will scream.
It’s too visionary.
It needs committee study.
It’s too radical a change.
We don’t have the time.
It’s contrary to policy.
You’re right, but…
Some legislators wouldn’t like it.
It’s impossible.

—modified from Paul Dickson’s "The Official Explanations."


news & snippets

Image of someone holding newspaperStop the Presses! Audit Shops in the News | Dale Carlson (California)

Drone laws, ethics commission lapses, improper spending, botched DMV computer systems, flawed health insurance exchange rollout, unregulated marijuana dispensaries, steroid testing, outdated drinking water regulations, unemployment fraud—and yes, even lax carnival ride inspections! These are but a few of the topics the media covered since our last edition for reports by our member offices.

Because so many reports found their way into the media and because some reports had coverage from multiple media sources, we mention only one report for each office and only one media mention for each report. Apologies if your office would have preferred we mention a different report or a different media article for your report.

ALASKA Division of Legislative Audit
Statute of limitations running out on state oil tax audits, report warns
Nov. 19, 2014 – Alaska Dispatch News [full report]

ARIZONA Office of the Auditor General
State Schools Spend Less Per Student Than US Average
March 2, 2015 – Arizona Public Media [full report]

CALIFORNIA State Auditor’s Office
Audit blasts state agency over failed IT projects
March 19, 2015 – Los Angeles Times [full report]

COLORADO Office of the State Auditor
Scathing audit says Colorado’s Obamacare exchange mismanaged taxpayer funds
Dec. 8, 2014 – The Washington Times [full report]

CONNECTICUT Office of Program Review and Investigations
Connecticut to hold drone hearings
Feb. 16, 2015 – Stamford Advocate [full report]

DELAWARE Joint Sunset Committee
Understaffing at DEDO risks errors, report says
March 12, 2015 – Delaware Online [full report]

GEORGIA Department of Audits and Accounts, Performance Audit Division
Audit shows Ga. ethics commission lapses persist
Nov. 6, 2014 – Savannah Morning News [full report]

HAWAI‘I Office of the Auditor
Auditor releases report on medical marijuana dispensaries
Dec. 2, 2014 – KHON [full report]

IDAHO Office of Performance Evaluations
Idaho spent $61 million on failed school management system
March 25, 2015 – The Spokesman-Review [full report]

KANSAS Legislative Division of Post Audit
Audit dishes out blame for botched $40 million DMV computer system overhaul in Kansas
Oct. 2, 2014 – KSHB [full report]

LOUISIANA Legislative Auditor
Audit: LA Racing Commission lacks regulations to ensure health, safety
March 9, 2015 – [full report]

MICHIGAN Office of the Auditor General
Audit finds Michigan bridge inspections not always completed on time or thoroughly
March 13, 2015 – Daily Reporter [full report]

MINNESOTA Office of the Legislative Auditor
Audit Details ‘Seriously Flawed’ Minnesota Exchange Rollout
Feb. 24, 2015 – Heartland Institute Newsletters [full report]

MISSISSIPPI Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review
Study finds no easy answers to Mississippi's school funding efficiency
Jan. 15, 2015 – [full report]

NEVADA Legislative Counsel Bureau – Audit Division
Nevada audit: Seeking death penalty adds costs
Dec. 3, 2014 – Reno Gazette-Journal [full report]

NEW JERSEY Office of the State Auditor
The Driving Dead? N.J. driver's licenses issued to hundreds after they died
March 17, 2015 – [full report]

NORTH CAROLINA Program Evaluation Division
Agency says NC should ban personal services contracts
Feb. 9, 2015 – WNCN [full report]

PENNSYLVANIA Legislative Budget & Finance Committee
New report questions PennDOT district offices' spending, staffing
Feb. 24, 2015 – The Patriot-News [full report]

SOUTH CAROLINA Legislative Audit Council
152 child deaths not reported to S.C. investigators
Oct. 3, 2014 – USA Today [full report]

TENNESSEE Department of Audit
Ride at your own risk: State regulators not tracking permits, inspections at carnivals
Feb. 17, 2015 – WREG News Channel 3 [full report]

TENNESSEE Office of Research and Education Accountability
Tennessee must address highway funding issue
Feb. 1, 2015 – Kingsport TimesNews [full report]

TEXAS State Auditor's Office
State hospital privatization on hold after scathing audit
March 25, 2015 – Houston Chronicle [full report]

TEXAS Sunset Advisory Commission
State Legislators Eye Eliminating Steroid Testing for High School Athletes
Feb. 2, 2015 –  [full report]

UTAH Office of the Legislative Auditor General
Legislative audit finds drinking water connection requirements outdated
Dec. 20, 2014 – [full report]

VIRGINIA Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee
JLARC Examines Virginia Workforce Development System
Dec. 9, 2014 – WVTF Public Radio  [full report]

WEST VIRGINIA Performance Evaluation & Research Division
Audit: EPA pressure improved pollution permits
Jan. 13, 2015 – The Charleston Gazette [full report]

WISCONSIN Legislative Audit Bureau
$167 Million Lost in Wisconsin Unemployment Fraud
Feb. 21, 2015 – Milwaukee Courier [full report]

Share your coverage with us!  If you would like an article highlighted in our next newsletter, send a hyperlink to

Picture of NLPES Executive Committee meeting in April 2015

Executive Committee News | Rachel Hibbard (Hawaii)

On a beautiful spring day in April, your Executive Committee met in Denver to work on our standing subcommittee issues and look at the venue for this fall’s PDS.

Picture of artwork in The Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver, Colo.During a day-long meeting at NCSL headquarters, the NLPES Executive Committee met with senior NCSL staff (pictured at left) Bill Pound (NCSL Executive Director), Nancy Rhyme (NCSL Deputy Executive Director), Caroline Carlson (Director of Development, NCSL Foundation for State Legislatures), Larry Morandi (Director of State Policy Research Division), Tim Storey (Director of Leaders Services and& Legislative Training) and Laura Rose (Director of Legislative Management) to better understand their roles and how NLPES can benefit from them.  It was a fruitful discussion and gave everyone a chance to put faces to familiar names.  We were gratified to learn from NCSL staff who subscribe to our listserv that we have the most active staff section listserv (and it was one of the first)!

Picture of NLPES Executive Committee in front of NCSL buildingThe Executive Committee also had the chance to inspect the facilities for this year’s PDS (see right). Hang on to your hats and bring your sense of humor with you to The Curtis hotel! There’s no shortage of lighthearted décor around the place, sure to inspire you and get your creative ideas bubbling!

We are continuing to work hard furthering the needs and issues of evaluators and their member offices. See you at the NCSL Summit in August and at the PDS in October!


picture of ballot being inserted into ballot box Election News | Lisa Kieffer (Georgia)

The NLPES Executive Committee’s roster for 2015–2016 has been filled! As elections chair, I'm pleased to announce this year’s three open seats will be filled by new members Patricia Berger (Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee) and Shunti Taylor (Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts), and by reelected member Nathalie Molliet-Ribet (Virginia Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission). Congratulations to all!

Executive Committee members each serve for three years, and terms are staggered. Each February we make a membership-wide call for nominations. Candidates are asked to submit biographical statements of no more than 200 words. When the number of candidates exceeds the number of vacancies on the committee, bios are included with ballots and sent to NLPES offices across the nation. Ballots are returned by mid-April to our NLPES liaison at NCSL, who tallies the votes.

However, NLPES bylaws also contemplate two other scenarios:

  • If the number of nominees equals the number of members to be elected, the Executive Committee, by majority vote, certifies the nominees as duly elected members; or
  • If the number of nominees is less than the number of members to be elected, the Elections Subcommittee recommends one or more persons so the number of nominees is equal to the number of vacant seats. The Executive Committee then ratifies the nominations and certifies the nominees as duly elected members.

This year we had three vacancies and three nominations. As a result, the Executive Committee was asked to certify those three candidates as duly elected members. No membership-wide vote this year!

The complete 2015–2016 Executive Committee also includes Dale Carlson (California State Auditor's Office), Greg Fugate (Colorado Office of the State Auditor), Rachel Hibbard (Hawai‘i Office of the Auditor), Wayne Kidd (Utah Office of the Legislative Auditor General), Marcia Lindsay (South Carolina Legislative Audit Council ), Katrin Osterhaus (Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit), Charles Sallee (New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee), and Linda Triplett (Mississippi Joint Legislative Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review Committee).

Have a good year all!

Lisa Kieffer is the Executive Committee’s immediate past chair and current chair of the Elections Subcommittee. She can be contacted at


picture of a blue ribbon 2015 NLPES Awards | Nathalie Molliet-Ribet (Virginia)

NLPES recognizes individuals and offices for outstanding performance and the impact of their work through four categories of awards:

  • Outstanding Achievement
  • Excellence in Evaluation
  • Excellence in Research Methods
  • Certificate of Impact

Thank you to everyone who applied for one of our coveted NLPES awards this year! The deadline for the 2015 awards was May 8, and judges now have the difficult task of assessing all submissions.

The NLPES Awards Subcommittee also wishes to thank staff in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah who agreed to serve as judges.

The winner(s) of each award will be contacted in early June, and awards will be presented at a luncheon honoring recipients during the 2015 Professional Development Seminar in Denver in October.

Nathalie Molliet-Ribet is the 2014-2015 vice chair of the Executive Committee and chair of the Awards Subcommittee. She can be contacted at


Image of the words "Check It Out!" Websites and resources

NLPES websiteSpend a few moments touring our NLPES website to learn more about NLPES and see what we do. You’ll find general information about NLPES, including our by-laws, executive committee membership and subcommittees, state contacts, awards, and information on peer reviews.  We also have a training library and resources including past meeting minutes, newsletters and more. Check it out!

Symbol for emailNLPES listserv—The NLPES listserv is an email discussion group for NLPES members. By sending a message to, you can reach all listserv subscribers simultaneously.  Listserv members:

  • Can query other states about evaluation work similar to their own projects
  • Receive announcements about performance evaluation reports and job opportunities from other states, and
  • Are notified when the latest edition of this newsletter is available!

To join the listserv, send an email to Brenda Erickson, NCSL liaison to NLPES, with the subject “SUBSCRIBE to NLPES Listserv.”  Include your name, job title, audit agency/organization name, mailing address (including city, state and zip code), phone number and email address. A “Welcome” message will be sent to you once you are successfully added to the listserv.

See the listserv link on the NLPES website for additional information on how to post messages and “netiquette” niceties, like not hitting “Reply All” when answering a query posted to the listserv.

Legislative careers website—Know someone thinking about pursuing a career with a state legislature? Point them to the opportunities posted NCSL’s legislative careers website.  Job seekers can explore the types of work legislative staffers perform, including performance evaluation, budgeting, fiscal analysis, legal and policy research and opinions, bill drafting, public relations, librarians, building security, and information technology support. Opportunities are posted by states offering positions under Legislative Jobs.  Attracting young people to work as legislative staff will be increasingly important in the coming years. And even though baby boomers make up about a third of the national workforce, nearly half of legislative staff responding to a survey were 50 years old or older. Replacing those staffers will present challenges. Check out the welcome video, “A Day at the Capitol,” and learn more about the opportunities and rewards of working for state legislatures. Watch the videos under Career Paths to hear from staffers in different states describing their jobs and the satisfaction they gain from a public service career.

Image of a stack of booksOnline training library—NLPES Training Products Matrix—Visit our NLPES online training library for a variety of refresher and training materials!  There are nearly two dozen resources on planning and scoping, fieldwork, writing and publication, and management topics. Most are PowerPoint slides; some are narrated; a few are webinars or podcasts. Check them out!

Image for AskGAOLiveAsk GAO Live—Have you seen this website?  AskGAOLive is a 30-minute interface where GAO staff chat about a specific report and research, and answer questions that are emailed or tweeted in. Sessions are recorded and archived on the website. You can also “follow” GAOLive to receive advance notice of chat sessions. Topics include veterans and higher education, prescription drug shortages, prison overcrowding, state and local fiscal outlook, and government contracting.

Picture of a capitol domeEnsuring the Public Trust 2015—NLPES has updated "Ensuring the Public Trust," an invaluable overview publication of legislative evaluation offices across the country.

What’s the most common internal performance measure for evaluation shops? How many offices tweet? What percentage of staff has fewer than 10 years of experience? How can you contact a sister office in another state? Browse the 2015 EPT publication to find out!


Image of the words "Upcoming Events"




2015 NLPES Professional Development Seminar

Picture of City Park in Denver at sunriseWelcome to Denver! 

This year’s PDS will be held Oct. 11–14 at The Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver. We are planning a full three-day conference filled with plenty of staff development and networking activities.

Registration will remain at $350 per person—a fantastic deal for over 20 hours of CPE credit! 

We have a contracted room rate at The Curtis of $163 per night, plus tax.

More information will be forthcoming, but we hope you save the date and plan to join us in Denver in October!


The Working Paper is published three times a year by the National Legislative Program Evaluation Society, a staff section of the National Conference of State Legislatures. NLPES serves the professionals of state legislative agencies engaged in government program evaluation. The purposes of NLPES are to promote the art and science of legislative program evaluation; to enhance professionalism and training in legislative program evaluation; and to promote the exchange of ideas and information about legislative program evaluation.

The Working Paper is produced by the NLPES Communications Subcommittee.
Dale Carlson, 2014-2015 chair (CA)
Rachel Hibbard, newsletter editor (HI)

NCSL Liaison to NLPES
Brenda Erickson, (303) 856-1391
NCSL Denver Office • (303) 364-7700