President Carter yesterday formally bestowed the title of White House chief of staff on Hamilton Jordan, his 34-year-old political adviser, as the Carter-ordered shakeup of the administration spread through the government.
While Jordan received the chief of staff title yesterday, his first exercise of power in that capacity, it was learned, occurred Tuesday when he handed Cabinet members and White House senior staff aides forms to evaluate their highest ranking assistants.
Jordan ordered the completed forms returned to him Friday, possibly foreshadowing an extensive shakeup in the administration beyond the firing of a handful of Cabinet officials and senior White House advisers.
The White House-ordered personnel evaluation will extend down to the level of deputy assistant secretaries in the 12 Cabinet departments, and to the middle level of staff aides in the White House. The number of people being evaluated was not disclosed but was thought to be in the hundreds.
A second wave of evaluation, touching officials in agencies below Cabinet rank, such as the Small Business Administration, is expected soon.
Meanwhile, there was no word from the White House on whether the president has decided to accept any of the resignations offered to him by 34 officials, including the entire Cabinet and White House senior staff.
Officials suggested that there may not be an announcement of Carter's decisions until at least the Friday deadline for return of the evaluation forms and that successors may not be named in every instance.
Thus far, only four of the 34 officials who tendered their resignations have been assured officially they will keep their jobs. They are Jordan, Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, Defense Secretary Harold Brown and $&(WORD ILLEGIBLE national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.
The evaluation forms, which Jordan passed out at the Tuesday Cabinet and White House senior staff meetings at which the resignations were offered, were prepared within the last two weeks during the president's "domestic summit conference" at Camp David. They were thought to be the work principally of Jordan and White House political assistant Tim Kraft.
Since last fall, Kraft and his immediate staff have said they were evaluating the performance of subcabinet officials, although little has happened as a result of the evaluation. The dispatch of the forms Tuesday represented a dramatic escalation in that process, designed to coincide with other Carter moves to shake up the administration and revive his presidency.
The form included 30 questions, asking evaluations of the employe's work habits, including average hours worked; personal characteristics, including levels of maturity, imagination and self confidence; and ability to get along with others, to make public appearances and quality of "political skills.
The form also asked the superiors to list the major strengths and weaknesses of each person under evaluation and to "list three things about this person that have disappointed you."
Theoretically, according to Jule M. Sugarman, deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management, the White House evaluation could extend to 1,600 employes, including presidential appointees, "exempt" appointees of Cabinet and agency heads and so-called Schedule C "political" appointees.
As speculation on the fates of Cabinet secretaries mounted, a senior White House official denied one report that Carter had severely reprimanded Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young during Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.
The official said Carter had critical things to say about a number of Cabinet officials, including Young, but had not singled out Young for severe treatment. The president was quoted as telling the Cabinet, "We're not here to pay each other on the back, but to talk about problems."
The official also denied that Carter had denounced the "Washington mentality" and had vowed never to hold another news conference in the nation's capital.
The president's designation of Jordan as chief of staff, announced by White House press secretary Jody Powell came as no surprise. The architect of Carter's successful campaign for the presidency, Jordan has gradually been assuming more power in the White House.
However, it was clear from the commends of Powell and others that Jordan not only as given the title but a broad charter and authority to implement decisions.
For example, other members of the White House senior staff, including Carter's other closest aide, Powell, were told they should no longer consider Jordan their peer, but their superior, and that they should "act on Mr. Jordan's decisions as though they were the president's own," Powell said.
Officials indicated that they do not expect Jordan to block the access of Cabinet officials and senior presidential aides to Carter. But according to Powell and others, it is clear that Jordan will have authority to resolve differences among administration officials, taking only major decisions to the president and thus theoretically freeing him from the preoccupation with the details of government activities.;
Reaction to the administration shakeup and the uncertain fates of so many high officials continued to be negative yesterday. Questioning Treasury Secretary W. Michael Blumenthal yesterday at a House Budget Committee meeting, Reps. Paul M. Simon (D-Ill.) and Leon E. Panetta (D-Calif.) complained about the "uncertainty" the shakeup has caused.
This was also reflected in foreign currency markets, where the price of gold soared to more than $300 an ounce.
A senior White House official said there was "concern about the foreign reaction but that it was secondary.
"We can't let this deter us from going through this necessary process," he said. "It can't be the preeminent consideration." CAPTION: Illustration 1, White House Report Card This is part of the form that Hamilton Jordan, the president's new chief of staff, gave Cabinet secretaries and senior White House aides Tuesday. It will be used to evaluate the performance of high-ranking Cabinet department officials and White House staff aides. Jordan ordered the forms returned to him by Friday. By Robert Barkin - The Washington Post; Illustration 2, The White House-ordered personnel evaluation form, handed Tuesday to Cabinet members and staff aides. The number of people being evaluated is believed to be in the hundreds.