The Carter administration has nearly finished filling the 2,000-odd jobs that are the spoils of victory in presidential politics. As a result:
Hamilton Jordan, President Carter's principal political lieutenant and the man who managed the job-filling process, stays home in the evening. "One reason I don't go out socially," Jordan explained, is that "I run into these kids who worked for us on the campaign (who can't find jobs in the administration) - it just takes an emotional toll on me. Just one horror story after another.
The Democratic National Committee had adopted a resolution critical of the new President's approach to patronage.
Jim King, director of personnel in the White House and the man whose computers keep track of thousands of job applicants, agrees that the administration's method of filling political jobs amounts to "nutty politics."
Hundreds of people have been appointed to jobs in the new government who either never supported Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign or actually worked against it.
In fact, the ranks of the Carter administration have been filled according to no discernible pattern or philosophy. The new President delegated much of the appointive power to the senior associates he chose himself, and they filled jobs more or less as they wished.
In some departments - Transportation and Health, Education and Welfare are examples often mentioned in the White House - Carter's senior appointees paid little attention to recommendations from the President's office. In many cases, according to both White House officials and disappointed job seekers, a recommendation from the Carter camp was "a kiss of death" in these and other departments.
"I suspect that's true," Jordan said of the "kiss of death" allegation.
Some of the political operatives association with new president feel he has made a grave error by allowing Cabinet members to ignore those who worked in the Carter campaign and hoped to join the administration. They believe it will hurt the President's re-election campaign and damage other important political relationships when word gets around that he mistreated those who made substantial sacrifices for him.
Many of these people had 90-day or 120-day appointments to government agencies, during which time they tried to find permanent positions. Up to 200 of those failed, and are now out of work, including some who were inmate proteges of people who are now senior White House aides. Most are young people without much job experience.
Some Cabinet members may have burned a bridge or two in their relations with the White House. "I resent . . . the shoddy treatment some of our some of the agencies," Jordan said.He promised - with a sly grin but no details - that "it's not over yet" for those disappointed job seekers.
Critics of the appointments process - including some in the White House - feel Carter has voluntarily relinquished important control over the federal government by allowing subodinates to do so much of appointing. These critics believe the President should have placed people loyal directly to him at key points throughout the government.
One source noted that in the regional offices of the big departments - office which are much closer to the public and to local officials than the bureaucracies in Washington - no Carter loyalists have been appointed to important jobs.
Jordan acknowledged that the administration now includes a great many people who do not owe personal loyalty - or their jobs - directly to Carter. But he said this did not mean the President had relinquished any control over the government, because Carter is "a strong executive."
Another Carter associate observed: "I wouldn't mind if it was a merit system (by which administration appointees were selected). It's really not a merit system, but a new form of cronyism."
Personal connections obviously did have a lot to do with scores of appointments to the administration. "That's human nature," Jordan said in an interview. It was first displayed by Carter himself.
"Most of the critical power centers are in the hands of what they call 'the family,' the Georgians," observed one of Washington's legal statesmen, who has been watching the formation of new administrations for decades. He is right.
Carter has inimate associates, mostly from Georgia, throughout the White House, in the Office of Management and Budget and at the Justice Department. His Secretary of State and national security adviser are probably the two members of the traditional foreign policy establishment whom Carter knew best before he was elected.
Because the White House did not insist on controlling the appointments process below the top level, what Jordan called "human nature" was influential in lower-ranking appointments too.
So Brock Adams, the Secretary of Transportation, could surround himself with former congressional aides, making one of them his under secretary.
Attorney General Griffin B. Bell hired numerous highly recommended outsiders for his senior staff, but he chose a friend from Atlanta - Michael J. Egan, who has the title of associate attorney general - to preside over day-to-day affairs in the Justice Department.
Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance chose a friend from the legal profession with no appreciable experience in foreign affairs as deputy secretary of state - Warren M. Christopher.Vance brought a young lawyer from his Wall Street firm to be counselor of the State Department, and picked two associates from his days at the Paris Vietnam peace talks for senior jobs in the department.
Similar patterns are repeated farther down in the hierarchy.
The Carter camp's much-publicized talent searches - which began last summer, long before Carter was even elected President - produced surprisingly few of the final appointees. According to a source who worked in the Talent Inventory Program, the first, computerized talent search, people whose names got on the early lists had no advantage of jobs - unless they also had personal connections or some other inside track.
Who did get the jobs? So many people that generalizations are difficult, but a few categories are identifiable:
Important members of Carter's inner staff during the campaign. Most of those who held responsible positions at Carter's campaign headquarters in Atlanta are now at work somewhere in Washington; through there are some exceptions.
Georgians. Many from the President's home state - not all of them active in the campaign organization - are now in the administration, including a dozen or more who haven't had publicity. For instance, a Georgia peanut farmer named P. R. (Bobby) Smith is an assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture. Hubert (Hurkey) Harris, bank lobbyist in Georgia, is handling congressional relations at OMB.
Specialists who reflect some of Carter's avowed policy preferences. This is perhaps most evident in the environmental area, where important positions have been filled by people with strong pro-environmental backgrounds. Many are veterans of various "public interest" organizations in the environmental area. Several said in interviews that they are still pinching themselves that so many of their soul brothers and sisters are in the administration.
The administration's initial appointments to regulatory commissions reflect a generally pro-competition bias.
Advocates of a hard-line in relations with the Soviet Union and those who feel the U.S. defense establishment is dangerously weak believe that Carter's appointments in the national security field excluded their friends and allies.
The beneficiaries of the administration's "affirmative action" inclinations.
Carter and his associates publicly pledged to bring more women and minority-group members into government service than any preceding administration.
Final statistics are not available, but it seems likely that the will succeed. At sub-Cabinet and lower appointive levels, blacks, women, Hispanics and others are all well-represented compared to their meager numbers in earlier governments.
In some cases, official sources acknowledge openly - if anonymously - that appointees would not have been considered for the jobs they got had they not filled some affirmative action category. One example is the new assistant secretary of HEW for human development, Arabella Martinez, a Hispanic woman with limited previous experience in the field.
Disgruntled femal employees in HEW accuse Secretary Joseph A. Califano Jr. of picking some women who "are destined to fail," in the words of one civil servant there. "And when they do, it will bring discredit to all women," this woman said angrily. So affirmative action is not automatically well received, even by those it is meant to benefit.
Members of Carter's Cabinet were instructed to find women and blacks for important jobs, and they made no attempt to hide their recruiting efforts in those categories.
Some appointments are difficult to explain. Several of them can be seen at the Agency for International Development.
Former Ohio Gov. John J. Gilligan is the new director of AID. He was surprised to be offered the job, as he had no close tie to the Carter camp. He has been told that the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, the President of Notre Dame, recommended his name to Secretary Vance, who offered Gilligan the position.
Gilligan turned to a familiar Washington figure (a breed that did not generally fare well in the job hunt) as his deputy, Ted Van Dyk, a public relations man and protege of Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey. Van Dyk became well-known among Washington journalists last year for his willingness to make dire predictions about Jimmy Carter's character and likely behavior were he to win the Presidency.
Many other proteges of older Washington figures like Humphrey, Lyndon B. Johnson and the Kennedy brothers found that their past services to Democratic Presidents counted for little. Many job candidates supported by influential senators and representiatives also discovered that friends on Capitol Hill did not help get a job in the administration.
A Washington lawyer and former Democratic state chairman in Massachusetts name Lester Hyman was backed by many senators and, other Democratic Party elders for the post of deputy attorney general. He was never interviewed. Sen. Herman E. Talmade (D-Ga.) worked hard to make his associated Michael R. McLeod the under secretary of agriculture, but the job went to a Texan.