ANNAPOLIS, NOV. 21 -- Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who never hit it off well with Washington Mayor Marion Barry, hopes to do better with Barry's successor.

In a letter sent today to Mayor-Elect Sharon Pratt Dixon, Schaefer asked to meet as soon as possible to discuss coordinated efforts in job training, higher education, transportation planning, federal relations and tourism promotion.

Also, he wrote, "I am convinced that regional, multi-jurisdiction approaches are the only solution to stopping the flow of drugs into our communities, and I pledge Maryland's cooperation in helping you enact and enforce effective abuse policies."

Dixon, who returned today from a post-election vacation, plans to telephone Schaefer Monday to arrange a meeting, an aide said.

When they do get together, other business is likely to find its way onto the agenda.

For example, a committee of D.C. civic leaders recommended an earnings tax on suburban residents who commute to work in the District. While such a tax would solve some of Dixon's deficit problems, it could cause headaches for Schaefer, who has a budget shortfall of his own, because so-called commuter taxes can be deducted from income taxes in the state of residence.

On a lighter note, they could discuss Schaefer's year-old suggestion -- only half in jest -- that the District could solve many of its problems by returning to Maryland, from which it was carved in the first place.

Schaefer's offer produced no takers in the District.

"Now is the opportunity for the two chief executives to discuss any and all issues," said Schaefer's press secretary, Paul E. Schurick. "It would be unwise to rule anything out."

Schaefer sounded a touch envious in his letter. "There is truly no better or rewarding job than that of mayor," said Schaefer, who was mayor of Baltimore for 15 years.