NLPES Executive Committee 
Meeting Minutes

September 18, 2011 (as amended 5/19/2012)
Denver, Colorado



The executive committee met on Sunday, September 18, 2011. Copies of handouts discussed during the meeting are kept on file with the NLPES Secretary.

Members present at the meeting were:

Executive Committee Members

Dale Carlson, California
Greg Fugate, Colorado
Patrick Goldsmith, Louisiana
Wayne Kidd, Utah
Lisa Kieffer, Georgia
Marcia Lindsay, South Carolina
Angus Maciver, Montana
Kathy McGuire, Florida
Trisha Oftana, Hawaii
Scott Sager, Wisconsin
Karl Spock, Texas

Bob Boerner, NCSL liaison 

Scott called the meeting to order.

The committee approved the August 4, 2011, minutes.

 Opening Remarks: 

Scott stated that the charges to the subcommittees (based on the SWOT analysis done previously) would remain relatively similar. He is interested in taking the Communications and Professional Development charges to their logical end. Regarding Communications, we should look at the listserv and website and determine what we want our primary mode of communication to be. Focus should be on how to communicate better with younger offices. As for the Professional Development component, he is interested in seeing what types of risks we could take in panels, sessions, etc. regarding training for newer analysts, mid-level managers, managers, and how to balance this with our resources.


Dale asked if bylaws reflected latest decision. Bob will check.

The Executive Committee broke into Subcommittees for discussions. 

Subcommittee Reports:


 Lisa reported –

The Subcommittee is interested in reordering the criteria for the research methods award. The Subcommittee suggests that starting with breadth and scope, then innovation, then technical sophistication may make the category more accessible to offices that are reluctant because they don’t believe they are technically sufficient enough in their approach to apply. Decision was that the Subcommittee can reorder the criteria.

There are 42 performance audit shops in the states. In 2011, 25 applied for the Impact Award. Would like to work on increasing that to 30. Subcommittee suggests sending out an email to all states in January to announce the awards and then sending reminders in March and late April. 

Regarding the Excellence Award, there was some indication that we may need to revisit the review process. Subcomittee did not have sufficient information at this time, but will determine if there is an issue.

The Subcommittee is interested in publicizing information on winners, and potentially why they were selected. Other suggestions included using winners as a topic for podcasts, articles or presentations at the Summit. Winners could also serve as panelist at the NLPES PDS. Dale suggested having a former judge serve as a resource for states who might be interested in applying – particularly for the Research Award. 

Patrick questioned whether we could make an award to Joel Alter, for his dedication in managing the Question of the Month for all these years. Scott noted that he will explore what we are allowed to spend regarding stipends or reimbursements, or whether we can waive the registration fee, to make it more likely that Joel could attend the PDS in 2012 to receive the award. 


Dale reported –

Question the subcommittee is addressing is how to re-imagine what communication tools should look like. The web is the primary communication tool right now; what can we do to maximize it to provide information to our users. Subcommittee is interested in whether we could use Facebook and/or Twitter to redirect to the website. Patrick noted that the auditor group is getting younger and we may need to adjust the way we get information out. Intent is to make information more real-time.

Bob noted that Ed Smith (the editor for State Legislature Magazine), and his boss Karen Hansen are on one of the standing committees – they asked about using Facebook 9 months ago and Bill Pound said no. 

Greg noted that his office has strongly cautioned staff on how to use Facebook and other social media because of their identities as public employees. He cautioned that it may not be appropriate to ask people to reach professional content through their personnel accounts. Additionally, Facebook and other social media are filtered out of the Colorado office. 

Angus asked whether NCSL would be uncomfortable with NLPES moving forward. Dale suggested that Jan Yemane and Ken Levine talk to NCSL on how to make this happen, maybe in Quebec City. Dale also noted moving forward will eventually require additional research and development of policies on operating (e.g., who can post, remove posts, etc.), and way to market the organization.

Bob suggested presenting as being what our members want and our NLPES committee wants. He will send the subcommittee an update document.

Challenges with the newsletter publication were discussed. In addition to process issues of how and where to post information, getting content continues to be a challenge. Patrick has been soliciting ideas for newsletter topics; Dale is working on profiles; Karl’s focus has been podcasts. Kathy noted concern regarding removing a regular publication date as a driver and the risk that we might not get information out. Dale suggested a mutually agreed upon deadline. Patrick suggested 4x per year we publish articles in five or so areas; and attempt to delegate some of the responsibility for identifying the areas for the articles. Kathy suggested also involving different levels of staff in other offices.

Scott summarized by noting that we are generally trying to get people involved. Culturally, there are some challenges in the various offices in terms of identifying who can provide content etc. Scott also noted that with regard to the Facebook and Twitter question we should discuss with NCSL to explain what we what to do, gain an understanding of their position and negotiate a reasonable outcome.  

We like Question of the Month as it is.

Key contacts – how to make a more effective tool? Suggestions: email instead of a phone contact; add to Facebook and Twitter if we go that route; assign personal contact for questions. Kathy will bring information from survey. Dale suggested further and more concrete discussion at the next meeting. 

Professional Development:

Greg reported:

Distance learning. Straddles two efforts. Webinars (one on October 25) and best ways to advertise them. We are also interested in whether there is any future e-learning money. Bob noted that there webinar money will be available from LSCC. We will need to get an application in.

Greg requested any ideas for 1 hour webinars be forwarded to the subcommittee. Most of the webinars have been done by our staffs; October is not. It would be nice if we could pay for skills development trainings. Talked about money for presenters and whether offices would be willing to pay (co-payment type of situation). Also, our library is the other item. Tricia has been working on other on-line options that can be downloaded by offices. 

Question of whether Podcasts should go with Professional Development Subcommittee or Communication. Decision was that Spark stays with Karl, whichever subcommittee he is on.

Legislative Summit – Concern is that we do not want to say, across the board, that we will not participate. We had 40 people attend the summit presentation we co-sponsored. We can try to collaborate with other groups. Bob suggested the Legislative Effectiveness Committee may be a good fit for us. Angus noted that the intended audience is the legislators (not staff). Scott suggested that we want a presence in at least one session per year.

PDS Atlanta – There is no partner this year. Need first to find hotel. Lisa will get help from NCSL. Heather Plush is involved and she knows how to plan a meeting. Kathy will be involved this time too. 

To start process, Bob and Heather look first, in January to find a hotel. Lisa will advise on where not to look for hotels (based on undesirable areas, etc.)

Begin looking for content in March. Greg will talk to Lisa and Leslie this conference to give a bit of conference explanation. Scott noted that the number of tracks (2 or 3, etc.) is up to host state. Greg noted that Denver used the Baton Rouge model and round tables tend to get the highest mark on surveys. The Roundtables are usually managerial discussions and historically we have had them at end of the conference. 

Scott has some PD ideas to incorporate. Sort of one dimensional now. Every year ¾ of panels talk about an audit. Not useful for all. Need to talk about things other than reports. Kathy says disagrees some because in Baton Rouge had some management skills sessions. Just have people talking about what is interesting. Scott – can become story time. Kathy – in our phone calls, how can we make it not talking heads. It’s not just the topic but the topic, how it’s presented. Greg – and folks come if have a place on the agenda. Striking a balance. Scott – PD is a gray term and some want more skills development and others don’t. How to apply what you hear with what you deal with. Explore ways to push content out there. Greg – look through topical areas. Scott – find topic and bodies to fill the slots. Scott – not that we have to do anything differently but is a discussion. Marcia – experts in NCSL that can do skills training? Kathy and Scott want to participate in discussion the next PDS.  

Peer Review

In October, Utah will undergo a Peer Review. Nebraska is scheduled for 2012. Anyone interested (in serving on a Peer Review) should contact Bob.  

Other Business 

Kathy – NLPES Survey of all of the States 

Date and Location for Next Meeting:

Maybe Atlanta in order to see hotel; Scott will suggest a range of dates to accommodate for various sessions.