James T. McIntyre, who came to Washington almost a year ago as Bert Lance's right-hand man, was named yesterday to succeed Lance as director of the Office of Management and Budget.
President Carter made the announcement and praised McIntyre as a professional in every sense of the word, a dedicated career public servant" who has agreed to take on "a thankless job" as the nation's budget director.
McIntyre's appointment to the powerful OMB post, which will require Senate confirmation, had been expected for some time. McIntyre has been acting OMB director since September, when Lance resigned under pressure because of his personal financial entaglements and earlier practices as a Georgia banker.
As acting head of the agency, McIntyre was responsible for overseeing preparation of the fiscal 1979 budget that the President will send to Congress next month.
Like Lance, McIntyre is a Georgian who served in the Georgia state government when Carter was governor. In 1970, he was appointed deputy state revenue commissioner and later was named by Carter to be director of the state Office of Planning and Budget.
With that, however, the similarities between the 37-year-old McIntyre and his former boss at OMB end. While Lance was the President's confidant and a gregarious administration "ambassador" to Congress and the business community, the mild-mannered McIntyre is much more the budget technician.
Even when Lance was riding high as one of the most outgoing and colorful members of the new administration, the little-known McIntyre was widely praised for his supervision of day-to-day OMB activities.
McIntyre yesterday declined to Discuss specifies of the fiscal 1979 budget, which is expected to total almost $500 billion for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
But nothing that it will be the first federal budget over which Carter has exercised complete control, he predicted it will "show the country the President's determination to be fiscally responsible but it will also show that he will not neglect the country's domestic needs and problems."
Declining to call himself a "fiscal conservative," McIntyre told reporters he is "concerned with fiscal responsibility" and believes government agencies should be forced to "justify expenditures" without ignoring real needs.
He said he shares the President's goal of balancing the federal budget by 1981, but like other administration officials he did not predict that increasingly remote goal will be reached.
McIntyre clearly will not fill the larger role of Lance in dealing with Congress and the business community. Since Lance left the government, Carter has turned to Special Trade Representative Robert S. Strauss, Treasury Secretary Michael Blumenthal and others for such missions.
But the OMB director's job is powerful in itself. It places McIntyre in charge of not only the budget but also the government reorganization efforts that Carter has made one of his top priorities.
As OMB deputy director and acting director, McIntyre's salary was $52,500 a year. His salary as director of the agency will be $57,500 a year.
A native of Vidalia, Ga., McIntyre is a graduate of the University of Georgia Law School. He practiced law in Athens, Ga., and was general counsel to the Georgia Municipal Association before joining the state government under Carter.
McIntyre, his wife and three daughters live in Clifton, Va.