Beth Myers, chief of staff to Governor Mitt Romney, is leaving state employment to serve as director of the Commonwealth Political Action Committee, which Romney is using to support his travel and to fund state candidates as he weighs a run for president in 2008.
Myers will be replaced by Mark Nielsen, who has been serving as chief legal counsel. Nielsen will be replaced as counsel by Brian Leske, who has been serving as deputy chief legal counsel.
The shuffle was announced yesterday in a statement after a four-day trip by Romney to Iowa, Mississippi, and California. It comes as the governor ramps up out-of-state travel that had been curtailed in the aftermath of the July 10 accident in which a woman was killed by falling ceiling panels in a Big Dig tunnel.
Romney has been overseeing post-accident safety inspections, and has successfully pushed to replace Matthew J. Amorello as chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, which has been overseeing the $14.6 billion project.
This week, the Republican governor is slated to return to Iowa on Thursday before traveling Friday to Michigan, his native state.
Nielsen practiced law in Connecticut before joining Romney's office. Prior to that, he served two terms in the Connecticut state Senate.
Leske has been deputy legal counsel since 2004. Prior to that, he served in the US Department of Justice.
Earlier this year, Romney's press secretary, Julie Teer, left the governor's office to join the Commonwealth PAC as political director and spokeswoman. Other members of his staff also plan to join the PAC before he concludes his term in January.