Leaving Levin

Posted January 17, 2003 at 1:11pm

Two longtime staffers to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) depart this month and the office is getting some new faces.

Chief of Staff Linda Gustitus leaves the Senate after 24 years of service, 22 of which were spent on the Governmental Affairs Committee staff.

Gustitus, who has worked as chief of staff since 2002, earlier served as Democratic chief counsel and staff director of the Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations, where she led inquiries into money laundering, the collapse of Enron and offshore tax havens.

The former Democratic staff director for the nonproliferation and federal services subcommittee and for the subcommittee on oversight of government management first joined Levin as a legislative assistant in 1979.

Gustitus — praised by Levin for her brains and loyalty — plans to take some time off before returning to work as a high school teacher.

David Lyles, longtime Democratic staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee, takes over as Levin’s chief of staff, and Rick DeBobes, current counsel to the committee, assumes the Democratic staff director mantle.

Lyles, who has served in a variety of senior staff positions with the committee, has also worked on the staff of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Defense.

The former director of Congressional

liaison and program development for ITT Defense & Electronics has also completed stints as staff director of the 1995 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, and in the secretary of Defense’s office.

An Oberlin College graduate, Lyles later earned a master’s in history from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Levin’s personal secretary of 17 years, Helen Galen, recently retired.

Galen, who has also worked for then-Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), spent two decades as a staffer in the world’s most exclusive club.

The culture aficionado will devote her free time to traveling and pursuing her passion for the arts.

Susan Cameron, who comes to the Levin operation from the Senate Historical Office, replaces Galen as personal secretary.

The former assistant to Moynihan and then-Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.) has also worked for the U.S. Institute of Peace.

A native of Kingston, R.I., Cameron holds a bachelor’s in English from the University of Rhode Island.

Legal Mind. The Senate Legislative Counsel’s office will lose a veteran foreign relations law draftsman at the end of the month.

Art Rynearson, deputy legislative counsel to the Senate, will step down after more than 28 years of Congressional service and hopes to teach and write part-time at local law schools.

Rynearson, who first joined the counsel’s office in 1976, earlier worked as a foreign affairs analyst in the foreign affairs division of the Congressional Research Service.

The one-time reporter for the Syracuse Herald Journal is a member of Hamilton College’s class of 1971 and is an alumnus of Cornell Law School.

A native of Yonkers, N.Y., Rynearson helped draft Senate reservations, understandings and treaty amendments during the debate over the Panama Canal treaties in early 1978.

He now will enjoy a much-needed reprieve from the Hill’s frenetic pace.

“It’s been quite a ride,” said the 53-year-old Rynearson, adding that at times he felt carried away by the brisk schedule of the Senate.