The White House yesterday began referring to various government agencies the names or more than 100 people who played roles in President Carter's campaign or his transition period and who are now seeking jobs in the adminstration.
The list of names, the beginning of a job referral program that eventually is expected to involve more than 400 Carter supporters, was sent to about 15 executive departments and agencies along with a letter from Jim King, the White House personnel director.
The President has personnel endorsed the program in discussions with his staff and Cabinet secretaries but stressed that it is referral system "and not a job placement program," according to Walter Kallaur, the adminstrator of the Carter-Mondale transition office who is working with King on the project.
Nevertheless, the referrals from the White House and the letters of introduction to department heads signed by King are likely to ease the job seekers' way through the bureaucratic thicket.
The Jobs the Carter supporters are being referred for are among some 2,200 political appointment that traditionally change with a change in adminstrations.
Kallaur said senior White House aides and King and his office are making the decisions on who will be referred and who will not.
"They have to be known to the folks that are doing the review," he said. "If we don't know them, we won't refer them. It's that simple."
Kallaur said he expects' another group of referrals to be made in the next day or two and sees the number of such referrals totaling 400 to 450 before the progrsm is over.
He described the people who are being referred as "competent, young, new faces" from the Carter campaign, the transition office, the inaugural committee or other positions where they may have become known to the senior White House staff.
The letters signed by King, dated Monday and mailed yesterday, were sent to Cabinet secretaries, with copies to the departments' chief personnel officials.
In the letters, King specifically suggested that the departments consider hiring people Civil Service Commission regulation that was designed to ease the transition period and the early days of the Carter adminstration.
The regulation, adopted by the commission earlier this month authorizes executive department agencies to make temporary "transition appointments" of up to 90 days while the non-career, political jobs are being filled. The authority to make such appointments expires May 1.
Which the White House was assisting the President's supporters in their search for jobs, the first largescale dismissal of holdover political appointees from the Ford adminstration occurred at the Interior Department.
About 40 Interior employees received form letters at 3 p.m. Monday informing them they they would be taken off the payroll as of 5 p.m. that day. The letters were signed by the new Secretary of the Interior. Cecil D. Andrus, who was sworn into office with most other Cabinet officials on Sunday.
The only exceptions to this were veterans, who by law must be given 30 days' notice before being fired.
An Interior official, who asked not to be identified, said the jobs involved in the dismissal were those under the secretary's direct control. Including deputy assistant secretaries and the staffs of assistant secretaries. There are about 130 such jobs in the department plus 15 to 20 direct presidential appointees.
The official said additional dismissials can be expected at Interior, but probably not on the scale of Monday's. He said most of the newly empty posts have not yet been filled with permanent replacements and some are being reviewed to see if they are necessary.
Calling such personnel shakeups "as routine as the sun rising in the morning" when adminstrations change, the official, a career employee, expressed surprise at the number of complaints about Andrus' action.
"I'd be the most surprised man in the world if it wasn't happening all over town." he said. "I don't know why everybody is calling us . . . They've disappointed because they found out there is no Santa Claus."
Jule Sugarman, the White House liaison at the Civil Service Commission, who is considered a likely candidate to be the next commission chairman, said he knew of no other large-scale tirings. He said decision on replacing holdover political appointees with Carter supporters is being left to the Cabinet secretaries and agency heads.