The Office of the Legislative Auditor General (OLAG) and two legislative staff members were recognized during the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) annual Summit in Indianapolis. In 1997 NCSL began giving staff professional associations the opportunity to legislative staff or agencies who made outstanding contributions to their Legislature. These awards aim to recognize excellence in service to state legislatures and those determined to strengthen their legislative institutions.
OLAG received the prestigious Excellence in Evaluation Award from NCSL for its unwavering dedication to enhancing program evaluation, accountability and cost-effectiveness. This award honors a single state legislative office that has demonstrated substantial advancements in program evaluation or performance auditing within a four-year timeframe, with only one recipient acknowledged each year, ensuring recognition is exclusively given to deserving offices meeting the award’s strict criteria.
“One of the reasons Utah is the best state in the nation is because of our incredible legislative staff,” said President J. Stuart Adams. “One of Utah’s greatest assets is the Office of the Legislative Auditor General. This nationally recognized award is even more noteworthy as it spotlights one of Utah’s most effective tools for program evaluation and effectiveness, with their recommendations implemented 95% of the time. Utah is committed to transparent governance while using effective practices, solidifying our auditor’s role in helping ensure Utah remains the best state in the nation. I am extremely grateful for their hard work and dedication.”
The awards for outstanding Utah legislative staff continue. Andrea Wilko, chief economist for LFA, received the Legislative Staff Achievement Award for the Standing Committees. She helps lead a team of economists that support the Legislature through long-term planning efforts, including budget stress testing, volatility analysis, tax change analysis and long-term budget development over her 30 years of service at LFA.
“Utah has the best economic outlook for 16 years running; this doesn’t happen by chance; it is in large part due to our phenomenal and talented staff,” said President Adams. “I extend my congratulations to Andrea Wilko for this much-deserved recognition. It is excellent to have a national organization acknowledge her invaluable contributions to Utah’s economic health and fiscal prosperity. I do not doubt that Dr. Wilko’s leadership in economic analysis and budgetary balance have set a stellar example for legislative staff nationwide.”
Aundrea Peterson, deputy chief of staff for the Utah Senate, received the Legislative Staff Achievement Award from the Legislative Information and Communications Staff (LINCS) for her leadership skills, innovative thinking, strategic planning and dedication to the legislative institution. Peterson is the current chair of LINCS, which focuses on improving effective communications between the legislature, media and constituents. “Aundrea is a valuable member of our Senate staff,” said President Adams. “She exemplifies selfless dedication and the best of public service as her positive professionalism never wavers. I congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition.”