Four years ago, when David A. Splitt -- then a 32-year-old lawyer -- was being considered for a cabinet post in the new Barry administration, his friends told him not to take a job offer to be director of the Office of Documents.

Splitt, general counsel to the city's Board of Education since 1974, was told it was a hopeless jumble of chaotic record-keeping for all the city's department regulations and legal notices.

But Splitt, whose resume lists "trouble-shooting" among his abilities, took the job and has been credited with turning the office into a respected niche of the city government that also publishes the D.C. Register, the official notice for all city government actions.

Named yesterday to temporarily replace Teddy Filosofos, the departing executive director of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, Splitt said it's not a job he would want permanently. "My profession is law. That's not an attorney's post," said Splitt, a graduate of American University's Washington School of Law.

Splitt, who will oversee the board of elections through the Nov. 2 general election, said his main priority will be to minimize the number of special ballots that hampered the Sept. 14 primary and possibly simplify voting procedures at the city's precincts.

"We had to fight everybody from the British to the Congress for the right to vote" in the District, Splitt said yesterday in his District Building office. "The presumption ought to be in favor of the voter" when problems arise at the polls.

As for Splitt, his unexpected assignment will mean a change in plans Nov. 2.

A choral enthusiast who was recently named vice chairman of the respected Choral Arts Society, Splitt had been scheduled to sing with other members the Karl Orff work, "Carmina Burana," at the Kennedy Center that night.