The D. C. City Council's top administrator promised yesterday to push for continued participation in a federally funded job program despite an official finding that its involvement has been riddled with the favoritism and abuse.
Robert A. Williams, secretary to the council, refused in the council's first official response yesterday to concede the main points of the report issued Monday by the Labor Department's regional office.
The report sharply critized council hiring practices under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) program, citing 78 findings of abuse.
It also called for an end to the assignment of 37 CETA-paid employes to staffs of council committees, contending it put the employes in too close a contact with the partisan politics practiced by the council members.
Terminating the 37 employes "would have a serious impact on the council's ability to function." Williams said. "Certainly, our research capability would drop off. And that doesn't take into account the personal plight of the people who are involved."
In a written statement, Williams said, "We have a paramount concern that our employes be continued in their work, and we will put forth every effort to bring about that end."
Williams, who oversees all council staff hiring, said he and Edward B. Webb Jr., the council's chief lawyer, had been assigned by Council Chairman Sterling Tucker to help prepare the city's official response to the Labor Department report. It is due in a month.
Tucker told reporters that "as chairman of the council I accept my share of the responsibility" for the way the CETA program has operated.
Tucker said one employe in his office, Loretha Davis, whose hiring under the CETA program was criticized in the Labor Department report, was transferred about a month ago to the city's direct payroll. Her husband, Dr. Howard C. Davis, is Tucker's mayoral campaign treasurer.
Part of a news story yesterday in The Washington Post dealing with another CETA-paid council employe, Absalom Jordan Jr., was in error. It said campaign of his political associate, Douglas E. Moore, for council chairman. The campaign treasurer is Jordan's father, Absalom Jordan Sr.
On another council matter, Williams released a memorandum sent privately in March to council member-Marion Barry Jr. declining to list the salaries of council employes by name. Barry sought the report after the first published report of alleged abuses in the CETA program.
Williams told Barry that, to avoid embarrassment to individual staff members, the council decided in 1975 not to divulge salaries paid to council members' personal staffs. However, he said, salaries paid to other council staff members can be determined from publicly disclosed documents.