June 16, 2014
by Walter M. Shaub, Jr
It has been said that an organization is only as good as its people. For that reason, I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity to lead a staff of exceptionally talented public servants who consistently demonstrate dedication to OGE’s mission. I would like to highlight, as representative of the best of this group, a key executive leader at OGE: Shelley K. Finlayson, OGE’s Chief of Staff & Program Counsel.
Along with the General Counsel and the Director, Ms. Finlayson is a member of OGE’s core leadership team. As Chief of Staff she ably oversees the agency’s day-to-day operations, with primary responsibility for budgetary, financial, and personnel matters. While the General Counsel oversees government ethics law and policy, as Program Counsel Ms. Finlayson manages all other legal matters for OGE. Under Ms. Finlayson, the Program Counsel Division has wide-ranging responsibility for activities such as:
- monitoring the performance of the executive branch ethics program,
- supporting executive branch agency ethics offices through OGE’s Desk Officer program,
- training thousands of ethics officials at agencies throughout the executive branch,
- ensuring OGE’s compliance with the many legal authorities applicable to executive branch agencies,
- developing OGE’s communication strategy,
- managing OGE’s legislative affairs, and
- accomplishing strategic initiatives, such as the development of a cutting edge electronic filing system for financial disclosure.
OGE’s success in these areas is chiefly attributable to Ms. Finlayson’s leadership. She leads by example, holding herself and her staff to the highest standards, and she is a tireless advocate for OGE’s mission. Anyone who knows Ms. Finlayson will attest that she is innovative, organized, and detail-oriented. Under her leadership, our staff has been highly motivated to reinvent OGE as an ever more efficient guardian of the public’s trust. As Director, I am grateful for her many contributions, but what I appreciate most is her reliably cool judgment.
Ms. Finlayson joined OGE in 2006, initially serving in roles related to OGE’s legislative affairs and budget programs. Early in her tenure at OGE, Ms. Finlayson was honored to be selected as a Brookings LEGIS Fellow, through which she served with the Oversight of Government Management Subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
Before coming to OGE, Ms. Finlayson developed her extensive expertise in positions with local, state, and federal legislatures, as well as in private legal practice. Some of Ms. Finlayson’s career highlights include serving as a budget and legislative analyst at the Congressional Budget Office, as fiscal and then committee staff to the House Economic Matters Committee for the Maryland General Assembly, as the Director of Legislative Affairs for a Deputy Mayor of the District of Columbia, and as an associate in the government affairs practice at DLA Piper.
Ms. Finlayson graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Public Policy from Rutgers University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with high honors from the University of California, Riverside.