Mike Sedell, who journeyed from Ventura County with Rep. Elton Gallegly to help the former Simi Valley mayor set up and run a congressional office, announced Monday that he is resigning.
Sedell, 38, will be replaced as chief of staff by Lisa Boepple, whose career includes positions as top aide to former Reps. William Stanton (R-Ohio) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was subsequently elected to the Senate. Boepple, who will join Gallegly's staff Dec. 6, has been the congressional liaison officer for the Australian Embassy since 1987.
Sedell, a former Simi Valley deputy administrator, will leave his $80,000-a-year post to return to Southern California with his family. He will remain with Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) until Dec. 31 to help with the transition.
"I always knew I had the intention to go back," said Sedell, who has relatives, including his parents, in Los Angeles. "I see my career on the West Coast." He said he is considering several job options in the public as well as private sectors.
Gallegly said Sedell's tenure in Washington has "been a strain on his family."
Sedell joined Gallegly immediately after the congressman was elected in November, 1986, traveling to Washington to help him look at apartments, pick an office and hire staff. Sedell commuted from Thousand Oaks to Washington for nearly two years before reluctantly moving his wife and son to northern Virginia last November.
He has generally received high marks from lobbyists, other Capitol Hill staffers and those familiar with the California delegation.
"You don't replace a Mike Sedell," Gallegly said. "Mike probably knows how I tick in a lot of ways better than I do."
Gallegly experienced considerable staff turnover during his first term representing the 21st District. Some former staffers said privately that they found him to be a difficult boss. But he and Sedell noted that the staff has stabilized and both described their parting as cordial.
"Mike's and my relationship is certainly--I don't know a word that describes it--is nothing but positive," Gallegly said.
Sedell said he and Gallegly "have worked closely together for many years. I'll be with him in support in what he's trying to do."
Boepple, a 17-year government veteran, will take over Sedell's responsibilities, overseeing district offices in Chatsworth and Thousand Oaks as well as the day-to-day operation of the Washington office. She will be paid $55,000, Gallegly said.
Sedell's salary was the highest permitted to a congressional staffer. His compensation raised some eyebrows in 1987 when, as a newcomer to Washington, he joined the ranks of the highest-paid veteran administrative assistants.
Gallegly said the salary savings are expected to be used to hire another assistant. He has 13 full-time and two part-time employees.