Though President-elect Jimmy Carter will not name a chief of staff when he announces appointments to his White house staff today, attorney Robert Lipshutz is the person who will come closest to that role, informed sources said yesterday.
Carter has told his closest associates that Lipshutz will resolve disputes among them and will act as staff coordinator when coordination is required, the sources said.
Lipshutz' formal title will be counsel to the President. At 54, he will be the oldest member of the White House staff. He has already been used to mediate disputes within Carter's inner circle, the sources said.
His age and calm, dileberative demeanor set him apart from the younger, less experienced persons who will dominate the White House staff, and these sources say that men like Jody Powell and Hamilton Jordan will accept Lipshutz as a mediator and general coordinator.
The question of who will be the senior figure in the White House has been a subject of confusion. At once point Carter said Vice President-elect Walter F. Mondale would be his "chief of staff," but aides later said this meant Mondale would be his principal collegue, not the day-to-day administrator or coordinator of the staff.
Carter reportedly still hopes to run the staff himself, giving many aides direct access to him. He has repeatedly ruled out a single, powerful aide in the mold of H.R. (Bob) Haldeman, Richard Nixon's chief of staff.
The President-elect has already used Lipshutz for many difficult assignments. He was the treasurer of the Carter campaign, and has worked intimately with Carter on the new administration since Nov. 3. Lipshutz is a partner in an Atlanta law firm that he helped established 30 years ago.
Other well-placed sources said yesterday that the Carter administration is likely to include these additional members:
Mary King, feminist activist and a former employee of the Office of Economic Opportunity, as director of Action, the volunteer service agency which incorporates VISTA and the Peace Corps, as well as some remnants of the disbanded Office of Economic Opportunity.
King is the wife of Peter Bourne, longtime Carter associate, who will be a special assistant to Carter with special responsibility for mental health. He is a psychiatrist. King is a controversial figure in the Carter camp.
Barbara Blum, an official in the Carter campaign and in the transition office, as chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality. Sources said Blum's appointment is "almost certain."
An active environmentalist in Georgia before she joined the Carter campaign, Blum's appointment to the CEQ would please the environmental lobby here. The CEQ is a White House office whose principal role is to oversee the preparation of all government environmental impact statements, and to arbitrate disputes among environmental agencies.
Joseph Duffy, former national chairman of Americans for Democratic Action and an unsuccessful Democratic candidates for the Senate from Connecticut in 1970, is likely to become assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs.
Duffy worked for the Carter campaign in Washington last year, on leave as executive director of the American Association of University Proffessors. Sources close to Secretary of State-designate Cyrus R. Vance said Duffy's appointment is "likely."
Anne Wexler, veteran Democratic Party politician and former Washington representative of Rolling Stone magazine, is slated to be deputy under secretary of commerce.
Wexler, who is Duffy's wife, has helped recruit appointees for the Carter administration under Hamilton Jordan. She had special responsibility for the Commerce Department.
Authority sources said Carter has also selected Ben Brown, a black state representative from Georgia, to be a deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
In another development, sources said Paul C. Warnke, former assistant secretary of defense and a prominent Washington lawyer, has apparently decided not to accept the post of director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
A member of the transition staff said that if Warnke cannot be talked into accepting the job it will mean "going back to the drawing board" to look for someone to fill the ACDA job.