For clues on how County Executive Charles I. Ecker (R) might reorient local government to meet the demands of the future, it can be helpful to recall what county government was like before Democrat Elizabeth Bobo, Ecker's predecessor, took office.

Ecker's 108-member transition team released a long-awaited report on county government last week that calls on the county executive to undo some of the changes Bobo put in place.

The report is expected to take on special significance as Ecker tries to rein in the county government bureaucracy to account for the region's economic downturn. A budget advisory committee recommended this week that Ecker cut non-school spending by more than 20 percent for the 1992 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

To make government more efficient, Ecker's transition team recommended that he dismantle the Department of General Services that Bobo created to oversee services provided to county agencies. It called for the reorganization of the Department of Citizen Services, one of the fastest-growing departments under Bobo.

And it criticized the Bobo administration for slowing development by dragging its feet on approving building plans and issuing permits.

"Under the prior administration, there was political pressure placed on {the Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits} which interfered with the ordinary course of business," the report said. "Future such interference must be avoided in order to insure that {the department} can meet its goals and objectives in a timely manner."

Transition team member Chip Lundy, a county builder, said that team members do not have proof of any wrongdoing. Rather, the comment is based on a suspicion among the development community that the department's "primary focus was in developing regulations, not in processing plans," he said.

Not every suggestion in the report harks back to governments past. One theme of the report is the need to better coordinate services. "For example, all of the programs dealing with youth and children could be brought into one agency, or at least, into one facility," the report said.

The report did little to characterize county government overall. In his letter of introduction, transition team Chairman Michael Davis said only that "never before has our county government been put under such a microscope."

Ecker, too, would not comment on the government Bobo left him: "I'd rather look to the future." He insisted last week that the transition team's work "was not a witch hunt . . . . We were looking for strengths and weaknesses."

He said he would use the report as his blueprint for reorganizing county government, but he said he has yet to decide what recommendations to take.

"It is a guideline for making county government as efficient and effective as possible . . . and as lean as posssible," Ecker said, adding that as government is streamlined, layoffs are possible.

Ecker might not have any choice about recommending that layoffs take place. A budget advisory committee told the county executive on Tuesday that current taxes will raise only $262 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 8.6 percent less than the current approved budget of $286.4 million.

The committee recommended that Ecker increase taxes by 5 percent to fund a $275 million budget for fiscal 1992. Committee Chairman James Clark, a former state senator, said "property taxes should be increased as a last resort." Ecker said the county is considering several new fees, including charging people to park at Centennial Park or charging groups to use athletic fields.

Ecker aide Beverly Wilhide said reorganization probably would be needed now no matter who had been county executive during the last four years.

"As a businesswoman, I know that when you go through a period of extraordinarily good times, you can be so busy trying to meet all the demands that you can't waste time being tidy," Wilhide said. "It is during times of austerity that you typically have time to clean house."

Among the transition team's housecleaning recommendations:Dismantle the Department of General Services, which helps maintain county buildings and grounds, operates police and fire communications and operates a bureau of risk management. Each bureau would be aligned with other departments depending on the responsibilities.

Dismantle citizen services and distribute its parts to various agencies. For instance, the employment and training center would be moved to the Office of Economic Development, and the consumer affairs and human rights agencies could be merged into the Office of Law or County Administration.

Create new mini-agencies to serve youths and the elderly..

Consolidate transportation-related offices under one department.

Elevate the Office of Economic Development to a higher, department status.

Hire a new director of the Department of Fire and Rescue Services who has no ties to the department. Transition team members said hiring an outsider would help eliminate a growing schism between volunteer and paid firefighters.