Eleven members of the Commission on Presidential Scholars. The chairman of the Renegotiation Board. The ambassador to Lesotho. The chairman and 16 members of the U.S. Metric Board. Three directors of the Corporation for Pyblic Broadcasting.
Like a final winter blizzard, the Ford administration in its closing moments has loosed a flurry of promotions, appointments, and nominations to patronage positions in the federal government.
Most of the 11th-hour appointments have been to largely honorary positions on advisory boards and presidential commission. But President Frod has also nominated four ambassadors, four D.C. Superior Court judges and a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission within the past six weeks.
Legally, almost all of the new appointees could lose their new titles when the Carter administration takes over at the White House. But if Jimmy Carter follows tradition, he will leave untouched at least the honorary, unpaid appointments Ford has made.
In handling out the patronage plums - many of them to White House aides or Republican party loyalists - Ford has followed a political practice dating back to 1801, when John Adams appointed a number of federal judges from his Federalist party virtually in the last minutes of his presidency.
Adams' "midnight judges" were denied the positions, however, in the Supreme Court case of Marbury V. Madison, the decision that established the doctrine of judicial review.
Ronald Giesner, a long-time employee of the White House records office, which handles the paperwork of presidential appointments, says presidents Eisenhower and Johnson, the last two chief executives to complete their statutory terms, also turned out large numbers of appointments in their closing White House days.
Perhaps the most controversial of Ford's late nominations is that of Jack B. Olson - a former lieutenant governor of Wisconsin who worked hard for the President in last year's Republican primary there - to be ambassador to the Bahamas.
Ford first sent Olson's nomination to the Senate for confirmation last September, but no action was taken before Congress adjourned. On Nov.23, Olson was sworn in under a recess appointment, which permits him to hold the post without Senate confirmation.
Olson went to the Bahamas in mid-December, according to the State Department, and has been living at the ambassador's residence in Nassan.
Like other ambassadors, he will submit his resignation when the Carter administration takes office. Senate sources say he has almost no chance of reappointment to the Nassau post.
Other Ford political supporters who have received presidential appointments this month include James A. Baker III, who managed Ford's general election campaign (trustee of the Woodrow Wilson Internmtional Center), Harry S. Dent, a delegate-hunter during the primary campaign (member, Sabine River Compact Commission), and former Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott (trustee, Board of Foreign Scholarships).
Several members of Ford's White House staff will retain at least titular connection with the government thanks to appointments announ ed this month.
Press secretary Ron Nessen will become a trustee of the Kennedy Center. Counsel Philip Buchen wiul serve on the Commission on Fine Arts. Economic adviser L.William Seidman will join Scott on the Foreign Scholarship Board. susan Herter, chief of staff in Vice Presifent Rockefeller's office, will be alternate U.S. representative to the executive boiard of UNESCO.
Positions on the various federal boards and commisions are generally undemanding and, financially at least, unrewarding. Some appointees will receive per diem payments up to $125 fro attending board meetings, the White House said, but in most cases the government pays only travel expenses.
Thomas Kean, who managed Ford's successful New Jersey campaign and was appointed last week to the Presidential Scholarship Commission, said he received a call from the White House last month offering him the appointment.
"I told them I wouldn't have much time for those things this year," said Kean, who announced his candidacy for governor of New Jersey last week. "They said that was okay, because it wouldn't take much time. So I said 'fine,' and here I am."