Sometime this afternoon, an official of the General Services Administration's payroll section will request an audience with Jay Solomon, the boss. He will present Solomon with a termination form (personnel action-resignation) for signature.
The official will explain the paper-work. He will advise Solomon on federal life and health insurance benefits, and any retirement credit he has earned in two exciting, explosive years in one of Washington's hot-seat jobs.
In the life-goes-on-world of bureacratic Washington, Solomon, subject of a thousand editorial cartoons and once the prime mover in President Carter's anticorruption campaign, will quietly cease to be a paid public servant.
Solomon, the Chattanooga millionaire who spearheaded a bribery-kick-back probe whose breadth and depth has made even the White House uneasy, will leave the GSA building-four blocks and a million miles from Jimmy Carter's office-today for the last time.
Early next week the man who, until today, commanded the government's fleet of half a million vehicles will load his own car and drive home to Tennessee. The man who came in with a bang, who rocked official Washington and the nation with revelations of corruption will take a superhighway south.
His detractors say he may have done his anticorruption work too well. They believe it went to his head. They say he talked too freely with reporters about credit card abuses by workers, bribes-big and small-and that the daily operations of GSA, the government's housekeeping and buying agency floundered.
Solomon-backers agree he did his scandal-fighting perhaps too well. They say he made enemies on Capitol Hill, angered the powerful contractor-bureaucratic community, and made himself too much of a political liability to the president. They say the investigation is getting too close to people whose support Carter needs to operate successfully in Congress.
When Solomon's resignation last week was accepted "with regret" by the president, Carter immediately nominated a Navy admiral, an expert in defense procurement, to head GSA. Speculation is that the admiral knows better than Solomon how to avoid rocking the boat.
Solomon says that when he came in, with orders to clean house, he found an agency that had become a dumping ground for political hacks, a place spending millions of dollars each hour with "little or no accountability."
"You didn't even have the same delegation of power from one region [of GSA] to the next region," Solomon said in an interview this week. "I never could understand that."
Asked if the varying authority of regional administrators was because of politics, Solomon said: "My personal opinion? They wanted to keep it confused so it couldn't be checked. Now 'they', I don't know who 'they' are!"
Does Jay Solomon think he did the right thing? "Let's remember," he said, "I was doing everything in the name of Jimmy Carter. All I was doing is interpreting what he said: openness, efficient, as good as the American people, honesty and so forth. I took him seriously."
The outgoing GSA chief said he has faith in the Justice Department, FBI and GSA investigators to pursue the job. (So far several dozen mid-level GSA employes have been indicted or sentenced to prison).
But what if the investigations implicate high-level politicians? Will that stop the probe dead in its tracks? Solomon paused a long time. "I don't know. . . I think I know the answer of the president. I think he would say go after them, let the chips fall where they will. Can't speak for the rest of them. I don't know.I think you have posed a very good hypothetical question."
Did he do the right thing? "If I did wrong, the president did wrong. If I did good, the president did good," Solomon answered. "Remember, it's Jimmy Carter, not Jay Solomon, because I'm gone. Saturday you will forget about me. Jimmy Carter will be here."