Sheila Mason announced as 2017 Vic Hellard Jr. Award winner

From LRC Press Office

FRANKFORT – A veteran Legislative Research Commission (LRC) staff member who has mentored hundreds of college students through a legislative intern program has been named the winner of the 2017 Vic Hellard Jr. Award.

Sheila Mason, who serves as LRC’s Legislative Record Compiler and Legislative Intern Coordinator, was chosen for the award that bears the name of a longtime LRC director. Hellard was known as champion of legislative independence who played an instrumental role in the modernization of the legislative institution and nonpartisan staffing.

“Vic Hellard would be very proud of Sheila’s continuing work for the Legislative Research Commission,” said David A. Byerman, Director of the agency. “The impact she has had on LRC and on the young people who have come through our internship program has been tremendous. I can think of no better example of one who has continued to work to uphold Vic Hellard’s legacy.”

Mason was chosen for the award for sharing many of the same characteristic that Hellard brought to public service, including a dedication to promoting civic engagement and serving the General Assembly with commitment, care, generosity, and humor.

“Vic set high standards for staff and established a culture of intense dedication and loyalty, not so much to him, but to this legislative process and the legislators we serve,” Mason said. “The strength of this staff has deep roots and will forever be at the forefront of his legacy. To be singled out from among so many deserving colleagues makes me so appreciative of the numerous co-workers and legislators whom I’ve learned so much from and dearly respect.”

Mason has held a number of key positions since joining LRC as an Analyst on the Program Review and Investigations Staff in 1980. Since then, she has since served as a Committee Staff Administrator and Assistant Director. As the current Legislative Record Compiler, she has worked long hours to ensure that citizens and legislators all have accessible and accurate accounts of General Assembly actions. As the Legislative Intern Coordinator since 2002, she has helped hundreds of interns go into the world as ambassadors for the work of the General Assembly, public service and the Commonwealth.

A letter nominating Mason for the Hellard Award describes her as “an unsung wonder of LRC who works tirelessly and calmly behind the scenes to promote LRC and its role in government, to uphold the institution of the legislative branch, to encourage and facilitate public engagement and dialogue, and to enhance the reputation of the agency.”

The 2017 Vic Hellard Jr. Award will be formally presented to Mason when she is recognized in the Senate and House chambers on March 29.

The LRC changed eligibility criteria for the Vic Hellard Jr. Awards in 2015 to specifically honor nonpartisan legislative staff members, past and present. The award alternates annually between current staff members and retired ones.

The Vic Hellard Jr. Award was created in memory and recognition of a former agency Director who served nearly two decades at the helm of LRC. Hellard retired in 1995 and passed away in 1996. He was known not just for his contributions to an independent General Assembly, but also for his wit, appreciation of history, and his mentoring of hundreds of young people who now serve the people of the Commonwealth and carry on his legacy.