City Administrator Carol B. Thompson recently instructed her staff to prepare a working paper on mayoral transition. She urged Cabinet members to begin looking for new jobs. And Thompson herself is accepting calls from prospective employers.

In short, the Barry administration is preparing to fade into history.

"No {new mayor} is going to get rid of everybody," said Thompson, "but I don't want folks to feel comfortable and then be caught off guard. I have said to Cabinet-level folks that they have to think about their future and make plans that are in their best interest."

Although Barry's third term does not end until January, the mayor announced in June that he would not seek reelection. Barry, who faces sentencing for his conviction on one count of cocaine possession, switched his party affiliation from Democrat to independent this week and yesterday announced he is a candidate for the D.C. Council.

Lurma Rackley, Barry's press secretary, said Barry is encouraging people to look for new positions inside and outside the District government.

Thompson said the administration would like top officials, who are paid as much as $80,000 a year, to remain until the end of the year to help make the transition as smooth as possible. On the other hand, they shouldn't pass up good job opportunities, she said.

Few of Barry's top aides need to be pushed.

Staff Director Maudine R. Cooper, the former vice president for Washington Operations of the National Urban League, is a candidate to become the new director of the Washington Urban League.

Valerie Lemmie, who was deputy director of the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, has accepted a job as director of the recently created Arlington County Environmental Services Department.

Herbert O. Reid Sr., corporation counsel, said he may enter private practice or retire. "I told the mayor I would help through the end of the term," Reid said. "So as soon as I can get relieved, I would like to be relieved."

Thompson, who is engaged to be married to a Norfolk contractor in November, says she is exploring employment options. When asked if she would remain with the District government if the new mayor asked her to, Thomspon replied, "I don't know."

Other Barry aides who are quietly seeking new jobs fret about a tight job market.

"I have re'sume's out there and it is going to be difficult given the economy," said one Barry aide who has been job hunting for six weeks. "When the fact that we are in the last stage of the Barry administration dawns on more people, some mid-level folks are going to be competing for jobs too."

In some cases, competition is intense.

Two Barry Cabinet officials have inquired about a job opening as government relations representative for the Potomac Electric Power Co. Also, the director and a deputy director of one department have applied for the same job.

Some job hunters fear their re'sume's may be tainted by criticism of District government and the controversy surrounding Barry's arrest and trial on drug and perjury charges.

One former Barry official said a prospective employer advised him to drop Barry's name from his list of references. "I had not thought about that," said the former official. "You can't hide the fact that you worked for him."

D.C. Council member John Wilson (D-Ward 2) said he hopes that Barry's aides will be judged on their individual experiences and skills. However, he agreed they will have to overcome a tight job market and the city's tarnished image.

"Private industry does not particularly have a high regard for governnment people and a lot of people don't have a high opinion of our own efficiency and management," said Wilson, the leading candidate for council chairman.

Another District government source put it more bluntly:

"For many of them, their strongest experiences have been this government. There aren't too many jobs where they can make $80,000. They are black. And they have the Barry situation. You're talking about a triple handicap. That's being realistic."

Janine Burns, a managing partner with Jannotta/Bray & Associates, a career transition counsulting firm, acknowledged that some employers will associate Barry's aides with the mayor's personal problems. But Burns advised government officials against selling themselves short by allowing the the mayor's reputation to overshadow their individual strengths.

Reid, a former Barry staff director, said that any new mayor who decides to clean house and start with a new cabinet will run into problems.

Barry, who described Mayor Walter E. Washington's top aides as "bumbling and bungling" and an embarrassment during the 1978 campaign and pledged to replace two-thirds of them, found he had to retain some of those officials to run the city.

The transition study ordered by Thompson will focus on the transfer of mayoral power from Washington to Barry after the 1978 election.

The candidates seeking to succeed Barry include three council members -- John Ray (D-At Large), Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4) and Chairman David A. Clarke (D).

According to sources, some administration officials worry that they may not be able to stay on because they may have annoyed or clashed with those council members during oversight and budget hearings.

Some of Barry's staff will be eager to help with the transition, but not because they are looking to hold on to jobs, said N. Anthony Calhoun, acting director of the Department of Human Services.

"A lot of the people feel a certain amount of professionalism and we are as stubborn as our boss," Calhoun said. "We don't want to be run out of town. We want to stay and turn it over to somebody. It's the principle of the thing."