Despite warnings that Donald J. Devine doesn't have the votes to be reconfirmed as director of the Office of Personnel Management, the White House is sticking to his nomination and the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will hold another hearing early next month.
Devine met with Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and White House legislative strategy coordinator Max L. Friedersdorf Wednesday. Stevens, the No. 2 Republican on the committee, earlier had advised the White House that Devine did not have the votes to be reconfirmed. He suggested that someone else be nominated for the post.
Friedersdorf said yesterday that he passed the word "that the president thinks Don Devine has done a fine job . . .and wants the nomination to proceed." The hearing will be held the first week in June.
It has been nearly two months since Devine's statutory four-year term as OPM director expired. It has been nearly six weeks since the committee held its last hearing, and several weeks since Devine resigned as a special assistant to acting director Loretta Cornelius.
Cornelius has declined interviews on the subject. But Devine has maintained that he expects to be back at OPM.
Since then federal and postal unions have been urging committee members, chiefly Sen. Charles McC. Mathias (R-Md.), to disavow Devine. Mathias is considered the key vote on the committee, which has seven Republicans and six Democratic members.
The Maryland senator had prepared a letter to constituents indicating that he would vote against Devine's reconfirmation, but withdrew it after Devine resigned from the special assistant's job. The contents of that letter were printed here May 8.
Devine, a former politics professor at the University of Maryland, has been working at the Heritage Foundation, a highly regarded conservative think tank, for the past few weeks. He has hinted that if the OPM job falls through, he might run in the Republican primary next year for the Senate. Mathias has not said whether he will seek another term.
In recent weeks national and Maryland conservative groups have been pressuring the Senate and the White House to stick with Devine. Pay-Raise Long Shot
U.S. District Court Judge Oliver Gasch yesterday heard arguments from the government and federal unions in a dispute over the size of last January's pay raise. The government contends that President Reagan acted within his authority in limiting federal workers to a 3 1/2 percent pay hike. Government data indicated that U.S. workers were due an 18 percent adjustment to bring their pay up to private-industry levels.
The average federal employe in this area earns about $31,000 a year, while the typical U.S. worker outside Washington earns about $26,000, according to the OPM.
President Reagan, following the example of presidents Carter, Ford and Nixon, disagreed with the findings of his pay agent and limited the increase. Under the federal pay law, any alternate amount the president recommends goes into effect unless overturned by the Senate or the House.
In 1983 the Supreme Court declared that so-called one house veto unconstitutional, however.
Following the high court decision, the National Treasury Employees Union, joined by the American Federation of Government Employees union, challenged the most recent presidential pay action. They are asking that the 18 percent raise be put into effect, retroactive to last October. That would add about $9 billion to the federal payroll.
There is no time limit for the judge to rule. Whichever side loses is expected to appeal.