The biggest show-and-tell exercise in recent bureaucratic memory is going on at the Department of Energy where the paint is still wet on its new departmental coat of arms.
Thousands of DOE aides are learning that working for Uncle Sam's newest glamour operation has its draw-backs.
What is happening is that DOE employees are being required of them.
After reading a 2 1/2-page letter from Secretary James Schlesinger, explaining what they are supposed to do, DOE workers are than asked to wade through six pages of selected tidbits from Public Law 95-91 the law that created DOE.
The print, which is enough to send anybody to the eye doctor, tells employees in legalese what they can do, cannot do, must get rid of and should not have in the first place. Mostly it boils down to telling them not to own stock in energy-related outfits like gas and electric firms, oil wells or to do anything for, or accept anything from, anybody connected with same.
Everybody in the DOE at Grade 12 ($21,883) and above must fill out the forms. They will be kept confidential. DOE says, but they are turned in to the head of the employees' office. And information in them is available to certain Energy officials, the Justice Department, Civil Service Commission and General Accounting Office.
Items listed by the employees will be studied to see if they constitute a possible conflict of interest, and in some cases to determine assignments.
Supervisory employees, in Grades 16 and above, are prohibited from owning assests in "any energy concern" and must get rid of them within six months of joining DOE.
The tough conflict of interest rules were required by Congress when it set up DOE. They also apply to Secretary Schlinsinger, who must get rid of stocks currently worth about $34,000, that he and his wife have in a firm that is involved indirectly in oil wells. DOE officials said Schlesinger - who has until July to unload the stocks - would have done so even if the regulations did not apply to him.