Thanks to "hit lists" supplied by bitter career bureaucrats the Carter administration has a pretty good idea of the numbers, names and locations of Nixon and Ford political appointees who have managed to crawl under the career civil service blanket.

Next step is what, if anything, to do about the one-time politics who now have protection under the merit system? Many of them are accused of bureaucratic atrocities during the Nixon administration, either driving out or sidelining career employees and helping in the drive to politicize the bureaucracy.

Running for cover when the administration changes hands is nothing new. Some Kennedy appointees found it necessary under LBJ; and many Johnson aides - some of whom came from the career service into political jobs - burrowed into the career service before the Nixon inaugural.

Many of them were purged by the Nixon administration - especially in places like HEW, Small Business Administration and Housing and Urban Development. Others identified as "political" Democrats were given dead-end jobs, transferred to the field or put in positions where it was hoped they would quit.

White House officials say know of no central list of ex-political appointees who have gained career civil service status. But one would be relatively easy to come by through a records check of Schedule C appointees and NEA (Noncareer Executive Assignment) aides who have gained civil service status since the election.

But a number of Cabinet officers do have lists of people in their agencies who once held political appointments who have since entered the merit system. And there is some pressure - from old-line bureaucrats who were worked over by alleged political hatchedmen, and from employee unions - to clean house.

Nixon administration personnel experts made no bones about the fact that they believed the Democrats had left behind political appointees - in career status camouflage - to disrupt or block the new President's programs. They were especially suspicious of HEW, and at one point made a check to see which top-grade employees were registered Democrats.

Carter officials appear less concerned that the Nixon administration appointees who remain in government are there to block Carter programs. "A lot of them just want to hold onto good jobs and work longer to get retirement benefits," an official said yesterday.

One White House official said it might be wise "to have an amnesty, if I can use that word" and avoid an office-by-office search to root out Nixon appointees.

He suggests that it might be better to "identify political jobs," even if they are held by "career" people (some of whom were once political appointees and have a service that recognizes both career employees and perhaps a larger group of political or policymaking aides.

"Sometimes you've got to stop," the official said, "an instead have an evaluation on the basis of competence an ability." It may be he said, "that we will just have to keep some people we don't like," to set a perceent that will en witch hunts of ex-political appointees now trying to survive as career employees.

A top Civil Service Commission official said he had not "discover any sense of revenge" among Cabinet officers he had talked with. "I get the feeling they (the Carter people) generally want to get on with the job and whie not necessarily forget the past, at least not let it dominate us."

Jule Sugarman, vice chairman-designate of the Civil Service Commission, is the scheduled luncheon speaker today at the Maryan Chapter of ASPA meeting at the Loyola Conference Center in Columbia, M. Cal! 596-5949.

Hope Nobody's Superstitious: Civil Service Commission Chairman Alan K. Campbell will be formally sworn in today as head of the agency. In case anybody is nervous about Friday the 13th for the event, it should be note that Campbell has been on the job officialy since May 5.

Computer Systems Analysts: Federal Home Loan Bank Board has openings (for persons with CS status) at the Grade 9 and 11 level. Cal 634-4070.