WSS NEWS--News about activities of the Washington Statistical Society - a Chapter of the American Statistical Association

Summer 1996


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The balloting results are in and the following people were elected to the Board of Directors of the Washington Statistical Society (WSS):

Graham Kalton, Westat

Cylde Tucker, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Al Tupek, National Science Foundation

Methodoloy Chair
Karol Krotki

Carol Shettle, National Science Foundation

1996 Julius Shiskin Award Given to David F. Findley
The Washington Statistical Society and the National Association of Business Economists announced on June 14 that the 1996 Julius Shiskin Award has been awarded to David F. Findley of the Bureau of the Census.

In granting the 1996 award, the committee cited David Findley's outstanding leadership in improving seasonal adjustment methodology for the economic times series at the Census Bureau, throughout the Federal Government, and throughout the world. The committee also noted his continuation of the work Julius Shiskin began with X©11 and his success in bringing out the X-12-ARMIA. This advanced system makes use of the most recent advances in statistical methodology and is already being used by many official statistical agencies and is likely to become the standard adopted internationally.

Dr. Findley has also written a number of papers on criteria for statistical model selection, and the properties of the information measures used to assess model fits. This work extends applications where models are not nested. He has introduced bootstrap procedures in a time series context, and looked at the implications of estimating for something other than one©step ahead forecasts.

The Julius Shiskin Award was established by the family of the late Julius Shiskin and is administered by the Washington Statistical Society and the National Association of Business Economists. The committee said that the award was intended to honor original and important contributions in the development of economic statistics and in their use in interpreting economic events. Mr. Shiskin's government career as an economic statistician spanned more than 30 years during which time he worked at the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the Office of Management and Budget, and culminated at the U.S. Department of Labor as the Commissioner of Labor Statistics.

In recent years the award has also been received by Fritz Scheuren formerly of the Internal Revenue Service; Richard D. Allen of the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Joel Popkin of Joel Popkin and Company; and Barbara Bailar of the American Statistical Association and formerly the Associate Director of the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

Seminar on Statistical Methodology in the Public Service
November 12 - 13, 1996
The Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics will host a seminar on "STATISTICAL METHODOLOGY IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE". The seminar will focus on a variety of topics that have been explored in the Statistical Policy Working Paper series developed under the auspics of the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodolgy. Subjects to be covered will include:

Seminar participants will include federal statisticians, economists, and managers, as well as others in the broader statistical community who share an interest in the quality of federal data. Users and producers of federal statistics who participate in the seminar will have the opportunity to share experiences and ideas, discuss technical issues, and consider future policy initiatives.

The cost for the two-day seminar, which will be held at the Holiday Inn, Bethesda, 8120 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland, will be $125.00 per person. Registration will be limited to 250 participants. For further information, contact Edward Spar or Susan Cohen in the COPAFS office (703-836-0404).

September Meeting of SIGSTAT for WSS Newsletter
SIGSTAT, the Special Interest Group in Statistics for the Capitol PC User Group and the Washington Operations Research and Management Science Council (WORMSC) will have its September meeting on September 18 from 12:30 - 1:30 in Rm 1208, 1301 New York Ave, NW. The topic is Which & Why to be presented by John Bender.

Which & Why by Arlington Software is a complete, graphically- oriented decision support package that provides the means to clearly justify and document every significant decision. It is designed to organize the complex group decisions made by government agencies and other large organizations. Which & Why covers all aspects of the decision process - - from brainstorming the decision requirements, creating an ideal decision profile, and evaluating options against the profile to reporting the results -- all with graphic tools, displays and statistics. A key advantage of the software is a unique, pattern matching adjustment to weighted average scores that ensures results are consistent with objectives.

The software is available on GSA Schedule and through local resellers.

First time attendees should call Charlie Hallahan at 202-501-6928 and leave their name. Information on SIGSTAT can be obtained on the WWW at http://www.ers.usda.govsigstat and on the Members/Sigs page at

1995-1996 Annual Report
Although government furloughs and heavy snowfall presented unusual challenges, the WSS program year was again very active. Highlights of the 1995-96 WSS activities include:


VP and President elect -- Graham Kalton
Representative-at-large -- Clyde Tucker and Al Tupek
Methodology Program Chair -- Karol Krotki
Treasurer -- Carolyn Shettle


The Methodology Section presented a full program of seminars covering a variety of methodological areas.

A Statistics in Public Policy program area was developed this year.

Short Course activities were once again a success. We are sad to say that this was the last year of short course leadership by Glenn White, who has served admirably in this capacity for ten years. Short course instructors included Richard Davis, Graham Kalton, Nancy Kirkendall, Robert Wise, and David Morganstein.

WSS co-sponsored the Data Editing Workshop, one of the largest events in WSS history.

The Fifth Annual Morris Hansen Lecture was held at the Jefferson Auditorium, USDA, in October. Ivan Fellegi, Chief Statistician of Canada, presented "Criteria for Assessing Statistical Systems." Katherine Wallman, Janet Norwood and James Bonnen were discussants.

While the snow hampered the career day presentations at local schools this year, a request to provide workshops for the Girl Scouts throughout the Washington area excites WSS's Quantitative Literacy Group.

The first of two Presidential Invited Addresses titled "The Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology (FCSM): Responding to the Needs of the Federal Statistical Community, 1975 to the Future" featured a panel of speakers: Maria Gonzalez, Monroe Sirken, Stephen Fienberg, Robert Groves and Norman Bradburn. Katherine K. Wallman made the second address in June titled "Toward a Unified Federal Approach to Statistical Confidentiality." Discussants were Joe Cecil, Tom Jabine and Ed Spar.


The furlough contributed to low attendance and a substantial loss from our first short course. Combined with delayed receipt of dues paid through ASA, some cashflow problems arose. The Board took steps to balance the financial books. The most influential changes are reduced mail costs (faxing the calendar to building reps, e-mail newsletters, decreased size of the newsletter) and requiring that social events be revenue neutral. As a result, the year ended with a positive financial outlook and a vote not to increase dues for next year.

WSS historian Rich Allen prepared the most comprehensive edition ever of "WSS Past and Present." We distributed it at the annual dinner and open board meeting.


This year's December Holiday Party was held at Bombay Palace. BLS won the "party hardiest" title for having the most attendees.

The annual dinner took place at Bish Thompson's in Bethesda Maryland. This year's speaker was Larry Williams, Projects Editor for the Knight- Ridder Newspapers, Washington Bureau, who spoke on "Statistics and the Media: Getting Comfortable Together." Victor Cohn, Research Fellow, ASA and former science editor of the Washington Post provided comments.


The 1996 Shiskin Award winner is WSS member David Findley.

The 1996 ASA Chapter Service Award went to Fritz Scheuren.

The WSS Presidents' Service Award was presented at the annual dinner to Vince Massimini (for developing the process that now distributes the newsletter electronically to more than 210 members), Michael Greene (for converting the monthly notices from mail to a fax list notification), and Dan Rope (for developing WSS's World Wide Web page) for their initiative and development of electronic communications processes for WSS. Thanks for other contributions to WSS's increased timeliness, lower cost and improved service related to electronic activities also go to Jim Gentle of GMU who is providing the WWW site, WSS NEWS Editor, Mike Feil, for providing an e-mail version of the newsletter, Michael Cohen for bulletin board activities, and Elizabeth Sweet for putting the Board of Directors on line.

This year's Curtis Jacobs Award went to Neil Crabtree, Steven Jakubiak, Doug Weber, and Jordan Valliere from Rocky Run Middle School in Virginia for their group project "Student Use of the Internet."

The WSS Outstanding Graduate Students Awardees are Stephanie Brown (JPSM), Kostas Fokianos (UM), Hasan Hamdan (AU), Yan Liu (GWU), and Yiheng Zhu (GMU).

WSS presented awards to 50 Washington area students at five regional science fairs this spring. This year, for the first time, the first place winner (or winners) at each of the five fairs received a cash award ($200) plus a T-shirt thanks to a contribution from The Gallup Organization. The volunteer judges also deserve a special thanks.

I would like to thank the 1995-96 WSS Board, committee members, speakers and other volunteers for the many successes achieved in this unusual year. It has been my pleasure to serve the innovative and dedicated people who volunteer their time to make our Society effective. I'd like to thank past president Sue Amhed for always being available when advice was needed. I'm sure that I speak for incoming President Phil Kott as well in encouraging members of WSS to always feel free to share their ideas and concerns with board members. Such communication is essential to assure that our Society continues to evolve, improve service to our members, and maintain our important traditions.

Ron Fecso
Past President, WSS

Note from the WSS Editor
Items for publication in the September 1996 WSS NEWS should be submitted no latter than July 30, 1996. Items for publication in the October 1996 WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than August 27, 1996.

Email items to or FAX items to Mike Feil, (301) 443-4045.

WSS People

President                         Past President                
Phil Kott  (703) 235-5211         Ron Fecso   (703) 235-5211        
            ext 102                            ext 142

Graham Kalton  (301) 251-8253

Secretary                          Treasurer
Elizabeth Sweet  (301) 457-4860    Carolyn Shettle  (703) 306-1780

WSS Program Chairs

Agriculture & Natural Resources    Economics
Mike Steiner  (202) 690-2486       Linda Atkinson   (202) 219-0934
Robert Latta  (202) 586-1385       Art Kennickell   (202) 452-2247
Methodology                        Public Health and Statistics
Julia Bienias (301) 457-2696       Vance Berger (301) 594-5756
Karol Krotki  (202) 944-5243       Julie Legler (301) 493-6832
Public Policy                      Quality Assurance & Physcial Sciences
Carolee Bush  (202) 366-6946       Harold Johnson    (202) 606-7758
Phil Ross     (202) 260-5244       Amrut Champaneri  (202) 268-2299
                                   Paul Zador        (301) 294-2825

Social & Demographic Statistics    Statistical Computing          
Mike Horrigan    (202) 606-5905    Bob Jernigan  (202) 885-3170
Myron Katzoff    (703) 670-8917    Mike Fleming  (703) 235-5213
                                                 ext 170

Short Courses                      Data Collection Methods     
Fritz Scheuren  (703) 549-1120     Brad Edwards   (301) 294-2021
                                   Linda Stinson  (202) 606-7228


Bill Arends          (202) 720-6812                 

WSS NEWS Editors
Mike Feil            (301) 443-1330                 

Antionette Martin    (202) 254-5409
Renee Miller         (202) 254-5507
Fritz Scheuren       (202) 549-1120

Mel Kollander        (202) 973-2820 

Quantitative Literacy
Shail Butani         (202) 606-6347

Local Arrangement
Robie Sangster       (202) 606-7517