The FBI has hired 600 men and women from Baltimore to work in entry level jobs in the FBI headquarters here in the last year and a half because the bureau says it has been unable to find enough interested or qualified workers in the District of Columbia.
In the same period, the FBI said, it has hired 164 District of Columbia workers for such low-level positions as file clerks, mail sorters and typists. The FBI also said it expects to hire 1,600 more such workers in the year ending next Sept. 30, with about 200 of them from the Washington area, 375 from Baltimore and the rest from throughout the country.
The FBI said it has actively recruited potential workers in the District, where the unemployment rate is 6.4 percent overall and from 35 to 40 percent for black teen-agers. But D.C. government and school job placement officials said yeasterday they were surprised to learn of the large number of FBI job openings and questioned how seriously the bureau recruits in the city.
Some city officials suggested privately that the FBI and other federal agencies do not recruit heavily in the city because of the District's over-whelmingly black population. But FBI spokesman Jeffery Maynard said the FBI does not discriminate in its hiring and said that 70 percent of the 600 Baltimore workers that have been hired are black.
Del. Walter E. Fauntroy (D-D.C.) voiced astonishment that not enough qualified workers could be found to fill the jobs with D.C. residents and, according to his spokesman, has asked FBI Director William H. Webster for a meeting to discuss the bureau's recruitment efforts in the city.
Maynard said the FBI's recruiting efforts in the District have largely been unsuccessful. In one notable experience, he said, the bureau and the D.C. Labor Department jointly handed out 800 job applications between November 1977 and June 1978.
But Maynard said only 212 of the applications were returned and that not a single person was hired because the job-seekers were either not qualified, did not pass an FBI test or did not follow up on job offers.
He said the recruitment effort was then abandoned by mutual agreement between the city and FBI.
But D.C. Labor Department spokesman Adolph J. Slaughter disputed the FBI's account, saying the city would never abandon any effort to find more jobs.
"If they'd ever give us a job order," Slaughter said, "we'd do our darnedest to fill it."
But he said the Labor Department has had no job orders from the FBI since mid-1978. "If we knew what they were looking for we could train our high school students who we know are not going to college," Slaughter said.
Maynard said that under an agreement with D.C. School Superintendent Vincent E. Reed, the FBI has also recruited potential workers in the city high schools by informing guidance counselors and business teachers of job openings. He said nine schools have been visited in the last year.
But Susie Morgan, the city school system's director of career planning and placement, said she was "not even aware of all these jobs the FBI is talking about. I just doubt the FBI is doing" the recruiting it says it is.
Maynard said the FBI also regulary advertise job openings in both The Washington Post and the The Washington Star.
The FBI spokesman said he had no explanation why more Baltimore workers, some of whom start commuting to Washington on buses at 5 a.m. each day, are hired for the headquarters here than D.C. workers.
"Maybe they [D.C. applicants] don't meet the qualifications," he said. "Why they don't come [to apply] I don't know."
Entry-level FBI workers must be high school graduates and then pass both an FBI test and background check on their personal character and any employment record.
There are currently 6,631 so-called support workers at the FBI headquarters here, excluding FBI agents, according to Maynard, and 39 percent of them are black.
He said that file clerks and mail sorters start at the GS-3 level, or $8,952 a year, while clerk-typists start as GS 4s at $10,049.