Some Bush Campaign Workers Getting Federal Jobs - Until Jan. 20
WASHINGTON (AP) _ FOR HIRE: More than 600 Bush-Quayle campaign workers. Seeking temporary political appointments in government to tide them over while they look for new jobs. Qualifications include previous government experience, loyalty to Republican Party.
At least four of the 600 have already found jobs.
The Agriculture Department has hired three, and the Small Business Administration has hired a ″wounded warrior,″ a spokesman said Tuesday.
Other agencies, including the Education Department and the General Services Administration, may also make temporary political appointments.
″We’re still considering it,″ said Etta Fielek, a spokeswoman at the Education Department. ″We’re sort of matching what our needs might be with who’s out there.″
For the most part, such employees are going back to agencies where they worked before joining the campaign, though not in the same jobs.
One of the temporary hires at Agriculture, Sharon Marshall, had been personal secretary to Clayton Yeutter when he was in charge there. She later became Yeutter’s executive assistant when he was deputy campaign chairman.
Another short-term Agriculture employee, Audrey Esquivel, had been executive assistant for political operations at the campaign.
The practice is legal. The appointments must meet two conditions: They must be temporary (until President-elect Clinton is inaugurated on Jan. 20), and the new political appointees can’t bump a civil service employee out of his or her job.
Among federal agencies, the Agriculture Department has the highest number (220) of ″Schedule C″ jobs, lower-level political appointments that are not made directly by the president. Next comes the Defense Department (128), the Education Department (127) and the Commerce Department (124).
Spokesmen for the Pentagon and the Commerce Department said no political appointments had been made there since the election.
The temporary moves are different from the practice called ″burrowing in,″ in which political appointees convert to career status and change jobs to stay in the government.
Spokesmen for the agencies and the Republican Party defended the temporary appointments, saying they are not politically motivated.
Such appointments are appropriate ″when you have a specific need short- term,″ said B. Jay Cooper, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee. ″Assuming that they’re working on specific projects, then the taxpayers are getting their money’s worth.″
At the Agriculture Department, Marshall, Esquivel and a third woman who worked in political and media-related jobs in the Bush-Quayle campaign are back for a few months:
-Marshall, the former assistant to Yeutter at USDA and the campaign, returned to Agriculture Nov. 9 as a confidential assistant in the public affairs office.
-Esquivel, executive assistant for political operations at the campaign, came back the same day as a staff assistant to Anne Chadwick, the acting assistant secretary for food and consumer services. Before she joined the campaign, Esquivel held another political post in that division.
-Laurie Shields, who worked in the campaign press office, started Monday as a staff assistant in the department’s public affairs office. She had been a receptionist there.
A fourth appointee, Peter Weber, is new to USDA. A former finance official at the Republican National Committee, he began work Monday as a confidential assistant to the head of the Farmers Home Administration, La Verne Ausman.
″We have a job that we have to do in the remaining days that we’re here,″ said Cameron Bruemmer, an Agriculture Department spokeswoman. ″We have legitimate vacancies. ... They’re qualified for those jobs.″
The Small Business Administration took back Tom Hockaday, a political official at the campaign, as director of intergovernmental and regulatory affairs until Jan. 20.
″We have one wounded warrior,″ said SBA spokesman Dan Eramian.
Before the campaign, Hockaday had been a counselor to SBA Administrator Patricia Saiki.