David K. McCloud, chief of staff to Virginia Gov. Charles S. Robb and one of his closest advisers, will remain in Richmond, holding the same position for Robb's successor, Gov.-elect Gerald L. Baliles.
The appointment, announced by Baliles today, means that McCloud, 41, will not move to Northern Virginia at the end of Robb's term and become executive vice president of the troubled state-sponsored Center for Innovative Technology.
The research facility, located near Dulles International Airport and a prime initiative of the Robb administration, has been faced with many startup problems. McCloud's appointment was seen as giving it a strong and politically well-connected administrator.
Stephen Rattien, CIT's vice president for technology development and transfer, said he was "obviously disappointed" that McCloud will not be joining the center. "We are entering our adolescent era, and his talents would clearly have been most useful," Rattien said.
But he said that "the flip side" of the announcement is that the 16-month-old facility will have "a well-connected supporter" in the Baliles administration.
James Popino, president of the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, noting that McCloud's appointment to CIT was to have been for six months, said, "We assumed he would stay with CIT only long enough to help with administrative problems, and I'm not so sure he can't still do that. I don't blame Baliles. I'd want him on my team. He's a super administrator."
House Minority Leader Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R-Fairfax) said there are "plenty of good people around" for the CIT position. "McCloud knew nothing about CIT, so he's probably better off in Richmond doing what he knows."
At a news conference in the state capitol this afternoon, Baliles said the major considerations in retaining McCloud were "his knowledge of state government and his involvement in the budget process."
Apparently anticipating criticism that he may need to distance himself from the shadow of Robb, his popular predecessor and mentor, Baliles said he did not consult with the governor on whether to ask McCloud to remain.
Robb, the governor-elect said, will "continue to be a friend . . . but I'm going to be the governor." Baliles said he plans to restructure the governor's office and "when I get through, you'll get a clear picture of what I intend to do.
The appointment, the first major one made by Baliles since his Nov. 5 election over Republican Wyatt B. Durrette, was greeted with enthusaism by most leaders of the General Assembly.
State Senate President Pro-tem Edward E. Willey (D-Richmond), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, called McCloud "an excellent administrator" and said Baliles was "lucky to get him.
Senate Majority Leader Hunter B. Andrews (D-Hampton) commended Baliles on the appointment, calling McCloud "very capable, able."
McCloud will continue at the $73,450-a-year salary he receives in the Robb administration, instead of the $97,500-a-year rate he would have been paid at CIT, a semiprivate, nonprofit corporation designed to coordinate research between high-technology industries and the state's universities.
The job at the CIT was created for McCloud less than two months ago, as part of an effort to help define the role of the $30.2 million center, under construction on 40 acres near the Fairfax-Loudoun county line.