The White House arranged a special meeting at which Civil Service Commission officials counseled former Carter campaign workers on the intricacies of government job-hunting.
Between 200 and 300 persons, some of them unhappy at not being offered high-level jobs in the Carter administration, were briefed on political and career positions.
They received instructions on filling out basic employment forms by teams of CSC personnel in the Department of the Interior's auditorium and were given a CSC telephone number to call for further counseling.
Arch S. Ramsay, director of the CSC Bureau of Recruiting and Examining, told them their political campaign work would be considered like other past employment in determining their aptitude for government jobs. He urged them to describe their political work "in detail" on their applications.
Ramsay said yesterday the former Carter workers did not receive special treatment. "We go to any organization that asks for a presentation on the civil service," he said. He said none of the applications would be "handled out of order" by CSC officials.
A White House job-referral system under the Nixon administration was widely criticized in a House investigation last year as a method of inserting political choices into career positions. Ramsay said the CSC had gone "to lots of trouble" since then to prevent special treatment of the politically favoured.
The meeting was arranged by the White House personnel office, whose representative on the scene was William Pollack.
Pollack said the crowd consisted of former campaign workers, others with experience working in government affirmative-action programs and some from the general public. "We have had a lot of inquiries from people," he told a reporter Wednesday night. Those invited had either called the White House seeking jobs or had sent resumes, he said.
He insisted that the session did not amount to special treatment for those who had campaigned for Carter during the primaries and general election last year.
Asked why the meeting was limited only to certain groups that had contacted the White House, he denied it was closed to everyone else. "The door was ooen," he said.
No public announcement of the meeting was made and those attending said they had been called by the White House or told by a friend the meeting would be held.
Since the Carter administration took office Jan. 20, there have been continuing complaints from former campaign workers that they were failing to get high-level jobs.
A week after the inauguration, the White House began offering help with a job-referral program, sending the names of more than 100 former workers to about 15 executive branch departments and agencies. Jim King, head of the White House personnel office, suggested that department heads consider hiring people under a special CSC regulation permitting 90-day "transition appointments."
One woman present at Wednesday's meeting said there is widespread displeasure among former Carter workers that they have been passed over for the choicer political appointments in the Schedule Category.
She said many were disappointed that the meeting did not provide them with advice on obtaining the Schedule C jobs, which are filled by presidential appointment.
"A lot of people were very, very cynical," she said. "They felt they were going to get some help in terms of the 'Cs' and all they got was some instruction on applying to the civil service."
Ramsay told the job-seekers Wednesday night that they ought to consider lower-level civil service jobs even if they had hopes of making the higher levels of Schedule C.
He said all relevant background experience, including political experience, would be considered in reviewing their applications. The low salaries normally paid political workers would not be held against them in determining what salary-range jobs in government might be offered, he assusred the audience.
Those present were urged to call Kay Dolan at the CSC. Dolan, a job information specialist for the Washington-area CSC office, said yesterday that she handled their calls as she would anyone's.