SOA Oversight Leaders

Great oversight work is happening all the time, all over the country. The State Oversight Academy wants to highlight the work of legislators, committees, auditors, and other state officials who make great oversight happen and share their success stories across the national oversight community and beyond.

State Oversight Academy's Oversight Leaders

The Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy is pleased to announce it is seeking nominations for the newly established State Oversight Academy (SOA) Oversight Leaders designation, which will identify one or more state legislators, legislative staff, committees, or elected or appointed state officials who have demonstrated an extraordinary effort to conduct fact-based, bipartisan, in-depth oversight.

A key goal of the Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy is to encourage state legislatures to conduct oversight that gets to the heart of public problems and holds the government accountable for results. The SOA Oversight Leaders recognizes legislators and staff, committees, and other state officials who use their offices to find information and improve government performance. Too often, politically or ideologically driven oversight obscures rather than illuminates important questions, damages public confidence in government, diminishes legislative comity, and wastes taxpayer dollars. When conducted on a bipartisan basis with a commitment to following the facts, oversight upholds the checks and balances envisioned by our Constitution, fosters bipartisan trust in legislatures, and improves public policy and governance.

The SOA Oversight Leaders designation is intended to recognize individuals and committees whose work contributes to the practice of high-quality oversight and stands as an example for others to follow. Nominations may be made at any time during the year by completing the nomination form below, and will be selected annually on June 1st.

SOA Oversight Leaders will be profiled on the SOA website, receive a framed certificate, and will be invited to participate in a roundtable discussion at the SOA Symposium on June 21, 2024.

Important Dates

Nominations for 2024 Oversight Leaders are closed. For 2025 nominations:

  • May 16, 2025: Cut-off for 2025 consideration
  • June 1, 2025: Oversight Leaders selected

Questions?

2024 Oversight Leader: Rhode Island State Representative Patricia Serpa

Rep. Serpa has been the Chairwoman of the Rhode Island House Committee on Oversight since 2016. Her oversight work has led her to address such wide-ranging issues as delays in state tax refunds, health care software implementation, behavioral health care, non-emergency medical transportation and the safety of children in the care of the Department of Children, Youth and Families. Her efforts demonstrate a deep commitment to the legislative branch’s role in finding the facts and addressing problems in government as they arise, especially when it comes to issues like contracts.

Rep. Serpa’s nominator writes that she “is quick to have committee hearings and bring forth questions or concerns from either the public or other legislators” and “is fair but diligent.” Her nominator also remarks on Rep. Serpa’s willingness to work across the aisle and provide support and advice to other legislators.

Rep. Serpa’s recent work with the Department of Children, Youth and Families and the Department of Administration resulted in legislation to address issues with the Department’s hiring process and ensure better care for vulnerable youth.

“It was amazing to me just how much attention the general public in my state pays to the work of the Oversight Committee,” said Rep. Serpa. “They appreciate that legislators expect that state government will function efficiently in order to ensure that citizens’ needs are met and that their questions are answered. I have not been shy about holding state departments accountable for inefficiencies and failures and then expecting corrective action plans from them. The work of the Oversight Committee restores a level of public confidence that their elected representatives are truly committed to serving their constituents. I am so grateful to the Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy for the unexpected honor of being recognized for my leadership.”

Because of years of work by Rep. Serpa and the Rhode Island House Oversight Committee, children in care of the State are safer, taxpayers get their refunds faster, more seniors and Medicaid recipients make it to their medical appointments on time, and all Rhode Islanders can have more faith in their government.

Nominate an Oversight Leader

Please complete this form to nominate an oversight leader for consideration by the State Oversight Academy. Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis, and Leaders will be selected on June 1st.

If you have any issues, please contact Kyle Bule at kyle.bule@wayne.edu.

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Note: Skip if not applicable for nonpartisan nominees.