Carter administration aides are making legal checks into converting more than 100 top federal jobs in reginal and district offices from career civil service to political status.
At stake are key positions in the regional subcapitals of Boston. New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Kansas City, Chicago, Seattle, Denver and San Francisco. The positions now are held by career employees in Grades 14 through 18. Some district office positions in other cities could be affected by the proposed changes.
A number of the regional top jobs already are held by clearly identified political appointees. Those agencies include Labor, portions of HEW, Small Business Administration, Interior, Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. Some lower-level career jobs in those agencies and in other departments could be affected by such a change-over.
Presidents Nixon and Ford issued executive orders converting a number of career regional jobs to either the political Schedule C category for positions at Grade 15 and below or to Noncareer Executive Assignment (NEA) for jobs at the Grade 16 or 18 level which pay from $39,629 to $47,500.
Many Democrats in the field are anxious for the top spots and have argued with the White House that having new programs in the hands of career bureaucrats makes no sense.
In most instances, Carter could make the career-to-political change by executive order. The other method is to ask the Civil Service Commission for sanction to make the changes. CSC traditionally has been reluctant to do that, and Nixon and Ford thus took the executive order route. So Carter probably will order the changes if he decides to do it all. Insiders believe he will do so.