Office of Performance Evaluations

About Us

Rakesh MohanDirector
 

Rakesh has been the director of OPE since 2002. He is committed to promoting confidence and accountability in state government through evaluation. Under his direction, the office has received many awards, including the American Evaluation Association’s 2016 Outstanding Evaluation Award and 2011 Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Government Evaluation Award. He is also the recipient of 2016 Donald and Alice Stone Outstanding Practitioner Award from the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA). Rakesh contributes to the field of evaluation through service on (1) the editorial advisory board of the American Journal of Evaluation, (2) the board of the ASPA Center for Accountability and Performance, (3) the editorial board of State and Local Government Review, and (4) the advisory board of the Rucks Group, a research and evaluation firm based in Dayton, Ohio. Recently he wrote a chapter for the book Evaluation Failures, published by Sage (2019). His chapter was titled, “I Didn’t Know I Would Be a Tightrope Walker Someday: Balancing Evaluator Responsiveness and Independence.” In the past, he served on the American Evaluation Association’s board of directors, the editorial advisory board of New Directions for Evaluation, and the US Comptroller General’s Advisory Council on Government Auditing Standards. He has an MPA from the University of Kansas and is a recipient of the Council of State Governments’ Henry Toll Fellowship.


Leslie BakerAdministrative Coordinator

Leslie is an Idaho native who loves the desert and the mountains. She and her husband live in Boise with their son. If she’s not out rock hunting or hiking the Foothills, you can find her at home experimenting with art or wrangling her feisty pocket Labrador Retriever. 

Experience: Before joining the Office of Performance Evaluations, Leslie spent nearly 10 years working in libraries and 15 years working on the language side of search and social media. She has worn many professional hats: program lead, manager, trainer, podcaster, interviewer, and more. During her career, she worked with teams from across the globe, including the Philippines, India, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Mexico, and Brazil.

Education: Leslie holds a BA in English Literature (2006). She is pursuing a Certificate in Editing at the University of Washington.

Professional Affiliations: She is a member of the ACES Society of Editors..

Lauren BaileySenior Evaluator

Lauren has always been interested in people and numbers. She enjoys interviewing stakeholders, developing surveys, and analyzing data. She appreciates that the field of evaluation allows her to use both qualitative and quantitative skills to provide useful information to decision makers.

Experience: Lauren has worked on evaluations of the child welfare system, local governments, courts, and property and sales tax policy.

Education: Lauren has a BS in political science and an MPA from Boise State University.

Professional Affiliations: She is a member of the American Evaluation Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Amanda Bartlett
Amanda BartlettPrincipal Evaluator

Amanda answers questions. Through her tenacious inquisitiveness, Amanda found her professional calling in the field of evaluation which seeks to provide accurate, reliable, and useful information to decision makers. Amanda is passionate about strengthening her community by supporting more effective government programs and policies.

Experience: Amanda has worked as a researcher and program evaluator since 2002. She started with Ada County where she conducted evaluations for departments including Solid Waste Management, Juvenile Court Services, and Misdemeanor Probation. Since coming to OPE, Amanda has worked in multiple policy areas including contract management, employee compensation, due process hearing procedures, child welfare, and local government. Experience in a variety of state and local agencies has strengthened Amanda’s ability to extract useful data by using a variety of methods, successfully planning and executing projects, and facilitating productive communication among stakeholders.

Education: Amanda is pursuing a JD at the University of Idaho. She has a BS in clinical psychology (2002) from Liberty University and an MPA (2009) from Boise State University.

Professional Affiliations: She is a member of the American Evaluation Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures.


Ryan Langrill
Ryan LangrillPrincipal Evaluator

Ryan came to the office from academia and has enjoyed learning about the diversity of Idaho and the many functions of state government. He is grateful that he gets to meet many of the diverse people from across Idaho as part of his job. He is a Boise native and lives on the bench with his wife, Anna, and two children. He was a long-suffering Cubs fan, whose suffering ended on November 2, 2016. Anyone who spends enough time with him will hear too much about Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments and about anything written by Jane Jacobs.

Experience: Ryan’s recent projects include evaluations related to retirement savings, tax preferences, and Medicaid. Before coming to the office, Ryan taught economics and political science for a year at Emory University, where he was able to inflict both The Theory of Moral Sentiments and the work of Jane Jacobs on undergraduates.

Education: Ryan has a PhD in economics (2013) from George Mason University, an MA in economics (2011) from George Mason University, and a BA in history and economics (2008) from Gonzaga University.

Professional Affiliations: He is a member of the American Evaluation Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures.


Mackenzie MossSenior Evaluator

Mackenzie was born and raised here in Boise and loves it. She is happy to be surrounded by close family and friends. She has been searching for a professional environment in which to use and develop her passions for social systems, community, public speaking, and policy analysis and has found the perfect place at the Office of Performance Evaluations. In addition to her position as an Evaluator with the office, Mackenzie is an Assistant Coach for the Boise State University Talkin’ Broncos Speech and Debate Team.

Experience: During her time as a graduate research assistant at the Idaho Policy Institute during her master’s program, Mackenzie worked on various projects for Boise State University’s School of Public Service and the City of Boise. Since beginning at OPE, Mackenzie has worked on evaluations related to criminal justice, volunteer providers of emergency medical services, and the state’s response to Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

Education: Mackenzie has a BA in social work (2018) with a Spanish minor and an MPA (2021) from Boise State University.

Professional Affiliations: She is a member of the American Evaluation Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures.


Sasha O'ConnellPrincipal Evaluator

Sasha knows the essential role that government accountability plays in our democracy. She is dedicated to improving the lives of those in her community by providing policymakers with information to support effective public services. Sasha has expertise in public health, labor economics, and long-term family financial security.  

Experience: Sasha recently worked on evaluations related to supportive services for people with disabilities, emergency medical services, and oversight of the statewide database for electronic medical records. Before her time with OPE, Sasha also worked on program evaluations related to domestic violence services, needs assessments for people experiencing homelessness, state-administered college savings accounts, and retirement savings. She developed a strong quantitative background as a financial analyst in the private sector before using her skill set to support policymakers and nonprofit service providers. She also served as an economic research assistant at DePaul University, focusing primarily on labor market policy.

Education: Sasha is a PhD candidate in public policy and administration at Boise State University. She has an MS in economics and policy analysis (2017) from DePaul University, a BA in economics (2011) and a BA in sociology and French (2011) from the University of Washington.

Professional Affiliations: She is a member of the American Evaluation Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the American Society for Public Administration.


Casey PettiSenior Evaluator

Casey grew up in Pocatello and has spent most of his life split between Idaho and California. He is an avid fan of basketball and history and likes to spend his free time listening to podcasts. Casey enjoys the policy process and policy decision making and is grateful to work in an office that provides information and assistance to Idaho’s policymakers.

Experience: Casey has worked on evaluations of Idaho’s prison system, driver’s license policy, and K-12 and higher education.

Education: Casey has a BS in political science (2016) and an MPA (2019) from Boise State University.

Professional Affiliations: He is a member of the American Evaluation Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures.


American Evaluation Association (AEA)

 

Award ribbon Year Award Qualifications News Release
2016 Outstanding Evaluation High quality work, use and influence of the report, office’s continued influence in the evaluation community October 21, 2016
2011 Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Government Evaluation Work is highly influential in government context September 29, 2011

American Society for Public Administration

 

Award ribbon 2016 Donald C. and Alice M. Stone Outstanding Practitioner Outstanding professional contributions in government management

National Legislative Program Evaluation Society (NLPES)

 

Excellence in Evaluation
2006 Best advancing the field of legislative program evaluation from 2002 through 2005

 

  Excellence in Research Methods
  2012 Equity in Higher Education Funding
  2010 Public Education Funding in Idaho

 

  Notable Document Award
  2022 Volunteer Providers of Emergency Medical Services

 

  Impact
  2022 State Response to Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias
  2020 Southwest Idaho Treatment Center
  2019 Residential Care
  2018 Child Welfare System
  2017 Idaho’s Instructional Management System (Schoolnet) Offers Lessons for Future IT Projects
  2016 Confinement of Juvenile Offenders
  2015 State Employee Compensation and Turnover
  2014 Reducing Barriers to Postsecondary Education
  2013 Coordination and Delivery of Senior Services
  2012 Idaho’s End-Stage Renal Disease Program
  2011 Increasing Efficiencies in Idaho’s Parole Process
  2010 Idaho Transportation Department Performance Audit
  2009 Governance of Information Technology and Public Safety Communications
  2008 Management in the Department of Health and Welfare
  2007 State Substance Abuse Treatment Efforts
  2006 Strategic Planning and Performance Measurement
  2005 Fiscal Accountability of Pupil Transportation
  2004 Return of Unused Medications from Assisted Living Facilities
  2003 Improvements in Data Management Needed at the Commission of Pardons and Parole
  2000 State Board of Pharmacy’s Regulation of Prescription Controlled Substances

Purview

Per statute, evaluations may be conducted of any agency or program that receives state funds.

State government Local government
Boards Cities
Commissions Counties
Departments Districts
Offices Other political subdivisions that have the authority to levy, collect, and spend tax dollars
Institutions

 

Developing a request

Requests for evaluation must be submitted to the Oversight Committee through a legislator. The Oversight Committee reviews all requests for evaluation. Requests may include background information on the issues of concern. Any member or the full committee may request that our office prepares general background information for full committee consideration of a requested evaluation. A strong evaluation request is timely and addresses a broad audience. See examples of prompts that can strengthen a request under Requesting an Evaluation.

 

Selecting evaluation topics

Using background information and information cited in the request, the Oversight Committee decides which requests will be conducted. The number of assigned evaluations are made according to resources within our office. Topic selection typically occurs toward the end of each legislative session, but requests may be submitted at any time during the year.

 

Conducting evaluations

After the Oversight Committee assigns our office an evaluation, we conduct the evaluation without involvement from the committee. We may interview agency personnel and stakeholders, analyze financial and budgetary data, conduct surveys, and review procedures, processes, and applicable standards. Before the release of the evaluation report, all materials obtained or created as a result of our evaluation are confidential (Idaho Code § 67-461).

 

Releasing evaluations

When the evaluation is complete, OPE staff prepare a written report with findings and recommendations. The final report is published with responses, if any, from the evaluated state agencies and the Governor. In a public meeting, the Oversight Committee receives the report, makes decisions about the appropriate steps to implement recommendations, and may forward the report to other legislative committees for consideration of policy. After the report is released, all workpapers compiled to document the evaluation’s conclusions and recommendations, except those that are otherwise confidential under Idaho law, become subject to disclosure.

Three evaluation standards guide our work:
Logo of the Government Auditing Standards Government Auditing Standards (issued by the US Comptroller General)
AEA Logo Guiding Principles for Evaluators (issued by the American Evaluation Association)
Front cover of the Program Evaluation Standards book Program Evaluation Standards (issued by the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation)
Insights from Idaho’s Office of Performance Evaluations: An interview with Rakesh Mohan, Director Rakesh was interviewed by Andy Feldman on the functions and processes of the OPE, discussing evaluative steps and the importance of independence when conducting evaluations…  
Radical re-imaging: a collaborative reflective space cocreating a collective vision for being more human in our work lives through reflective practice, interpersonal development, and embodied healing. Radical (Re)Imaging: What it means to be in service to others Deven Wisner, Tiffany Smith, and Libby Smith of Radical (Re)Imagining chat with Rakesh Mohan in a podcast about what it means to be in service to others…
A trapeze artist on a swing flying in the air and catching another artist. Building trust, an essential activity for evaluators For people to have confidence in government, they need to trust their government officials. Unfortunately, that trust is a scarcity these days….
The Idaho Capitol from the back with autumn foliage. Using consultants to increase evaluation capacity Small evaluation shops shouldn’t shy away from taking on large, complex studies. They can tackle these studies with confidence and produce useful evaluations by strategically contracting with consultants…
Group of business people in a meeting at office. The value of credentials in evaluations As the director, I manage high stakes evaluations. A poorly conducted evaluation could end my career and damage my office’s hard-earned credibility. For me, managing evaluations involves assembling the best team…
Books, pencils, apple, and notebooks in front of blackboard with the writing, Back to School. What is different about K-12 public education evaluations? At least in the USA, K-12 public education evaluations seem to be curried with a bit of extra politics, so much so that the politics is too spicy for many evaluators to handle. Like a curry, the politics of education evaluations is…
Generations from an India village listening to one man speak. Getting the attention of your audiences “Who is your boss?” asked a senior legislator shortly after I started as the director of the Office of Performance Evaluations more than 12 years ago. I quickly responded, “JLOC.” The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee…
 Cartoom of man saying he is a program evaluator, and another man saying, No kidding, my brother is also a computer programmer. Evaluation’s four missing Ps Do you know what happens when I tell someone that I’m an evaluator? I get a blank look, because people do not know what an evaluator does. So I say that I’m a program evaluator. And they think I’m a computer programmer…
 Two cartoon characters with one saying, the evaluators promised to help us once they're done developing their field. The other says, Are you sure? It seems like each night they start over. Follow-up on the four missing Ps In response to my recent guest blog and your related cartoons in Freshspectrum, here is what the great Eleanor Chelimsky said to me in a personal email: “About who evaluators are: I used to think we were Ulysses..
 Many hands meeting together Evaluators can’t do it alone; need to build new partnerships You talked about building new partnerships to promote evaluation use among policymakers. In order to accomplish that, you said evaluators would need to broaden their discussions at conferences beyond evaluation…
 JLOC cochairs Dean Mortimer and Shirley with Director Rakesh Mohan at a JLOC meeting Wish I had done this 11 years ago Being the director of Idaho’s legislative evaluation office for more than 11 years has taught me many things. One of them is the complex nature of communication with policymakers. I believe this is probably one of the…
 Man wrapped in caution tape Why are evaluators so tentative about the advocacy aspect of our profession? My mother used to say that where there are two or more people, there will always be politics over resources. Because evaluations involve making judgments about prioritization, distribution, and use of resources…
 Postcard written in Hindi in 1962 Embracing data visualization in evaluation: A management perspective Words have meaning, especially those that are well thought out and are written for a particular person or audience in mind. For instance, here is a very special letter my father wrote to me 52 years ago when I was only six…
 Sankey chart depicting the flow of funds through the Department of Health and Welfare Fitting reporting methods to evaluation findings and audiences As part of the evaluation on the Department of Health and Welfare’s management of appropriated funds, we had a difficult task of understanding and then explaining to policymakers the movement of appropriated funds…
 Sankey chart showing flow of funding to expenditures Sankey diagrams: A cool tool for explaining the complex flow of resources in large organizations Last year, the legislature asked us to explain how funds move through the Department of Health and Welfare—the agency with the state’s largest budget. Legislators, including budget committee members, had difficulty…

Photo of Rakesh Mohan

 
 
Rakesh Mohan
Director
 
 
 
Lauren Bailey
Senior Evaluator

Photo of Amanda Bartlett

 
 
Amanda Bartlett
Principal Evaluator

Photo of Ryan Langrill

 
 
Ryan Langrill
Principal Evaluator

Photo of Mackenzie Moss

 
Mackenzie Moss
Evaluator

Photo of Sasha O'Connell

 
Sasha O’Connell
Senior Evaluator

Photo of Casey Petti

 
Casey Petti
Senior Evaluator

We are seeking qualified candidates interested in serving the Idaho Legislature and the people of Idaho by producing credible, responsive, creative and effective evaluation reports. Current job listings: Administrative Coordinator, Part-time  To apply, submit a resume, a cover letter, and the names and contact information of three professional references to:

Mackenzie Moss

Office of Performance Evaluations

Idaho Legislature

PO Box 83720

Boise, ID 83720-005

mmoss@ope.idaho.gov