A congressional investigation of the city's heralded summer jobs program for youth has disclosed "chaotic" conditions in a program that fell 8,000 jobs short of the 30,000 goal set by Mayor Marion Barry.

The investigation, conducted by the investigations staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee at the request of Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT.) and Charles McC. Mathias (R-Md.) also found that:

Of 22,000 people on the rolls, 534 either did not work or did not get paid.

About 4,400, or 20 percent, earned less than $300 during the summer.

Nineteen Lorton inmates participated in the program, and some were paid more than they could have earned in a year at regular prison jobs.

Fifty-one youngsters under age 14 and 17 persons over age 21 were enrolled, although their ages should have made them ineligible.

Although the maximum earnings of participants should have been $667,274 participants were paid more than $700, including one who was paid $2,595.

At one job site, investigators said more than 100 youths were paid to learn to play musical instruments, while at another location, there was so much horseplay that two youths were given the job of guarding the fire alarm.

The program, which was given top priority by Barry, was plagued with payroll problems. Some youths still have not been paid for the work they did last summer, according to the report.

Investigators concluded that the program was "far too large to be properly managed and was expanded

to quickly to permit the development of meaningful jobs for the participants."

It said the city's Department of Labor had not demonstrated "the ability to provide meaningful jobs" for the 15,000 slots assigned to it through the federally funded Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA).

The investigators said that if the Senate Appropriations Committee "wishes to continue the appropriated summer program next yeay, it should by far more modest -- no more than half the current size."

A separate investigation of summer youth job programs, conducted in 11 cities by the U.S. Department of Labor found Washington has "the worst" program, according to the report. It said a Labor Department official who has "been in the District a long time" said the District of Columbia's program was "the worst he had ever seen. He said he could not believe that Congress gave the District of Columbia appropriated money to do with as they pleased with no restrictions on the kids or work sites or anything."

While the report is largely critical of the city's Department of Labor, it said the department "did a notable job in soliciting the participation of about 700 new private organizations" in last summer's program and "should continue its effort in this area."

The investigators noted that Mayor Barry had pledged during his campaign last year to double to 30,000 in the number of summer jobs available for D.C. youths. To meet the mayor's goal, the city labor department planned to provide 15,000 jobs through CETA; 8,600 subsidized through a special federal appropriation; 3,000 hired by the federal government; 2,000 hired by private businesses, and 1,000 hired by city agencies.

Because of the ambitious goal, recruiters had to "go out of their way to find enoungh registrants eligible for the CETA slots," the report said. It said recruiters "even leased two vans to drive around the city looking for groups of young people who had not registered for the program."

As part of that drive, recruiters also visited the Lorton correctional facility on May 30 and signed up 35 young inmates for the program.

At one job site, investigators said more than 100 youths were paid to learn to play musical instruments, while at another location, there was so much horseplay that two youths were given the job of guarding the fire alarm.

The investigators said program officials attempted to justify the Lorton recruitment by saying "the incarcerated youths were wards of the city and certainly met the criteria of being disavantaged."

Investigators said employing the inmates "would not appear to be in keeping with the basic purpose [of the program], which was supposedly intended to prevent youths from getting into trouble by keeping them employed and off the streets, and not providing them for those already in trouble."

Investigators said the young inmates were paid at the rate of $2.90 an hour even though the maximum permissible pay rate for the few regular jobs available for youth inmates at the facility is 30 cents an hour. Investigators said that while they do not advocate a 30-cent-an-hour pay rate, "it does not seem reasonable that a youth inmate should be permitted to earn more in an eight-week program than he would be able to earn otherwise for a full year's work at a regular prison job."

Investigators suggested that officials of the summer jobs program were caught in a "slot mentality" that emphasized the quantity rather than the quality of jobs. They pointed to a memo on April 17, which said that "the (city's) Department of Labor cannot again be caught in the embarrassing situation of having to return $2.5 million because we couldn't find enough subsidized placements or because we couldn't identify enough eligible youths in the city."

Investigators said the head of the jobs development program told them that if "7,000 to 10,000 kids were doing meaningful work for having good work experience, the program was successful as far as quality goes."

Another major problem, according to the investigators, was the inability of the city to monitor the activities of the youths, both to see if the jobs promised were really there and if the young people assigned to them showed up.

Most of the monitoring reports were "innocuous or inconsistent," according to the investigators. But they did cite cases in which youths were paid for such activities as going on a picnic, shopping, watching television, playing cards and checkers, general loitering an showing up only to sign in and out and pick up pay checks.

One of the few reports that recommended discontinuing a job program found that 100 youths were being "exposed to profane language and lectures stimulating racist beliefs and separatist ideas," the investigators said. The employing organization, which was not identified, was notified on July 9 that it was being removed from the program, but the investigators said "the office of the mayor intervened and reopened the work site."

Investigators complained that their study was hampered by delays in obtaining records, many of which were incomplete, inaccurate or nonexistent. They said that meetings were held every Tuesday and Thursday in the office of the summer youth employment director to exchange information and solve problems, but that no records were kept of the meetings.

The investigators recommended that the number of youths employed at recreation sites should be "substantially cut back if not eliminated" next summer. It said that if the conditions at recreeation sites in Washington are reflective of those in other cities, the U.S. Department of Labor should "prohibit the use of recreation centers as work sites for CETA programs because participants at such sites appear to receive extremely counter-productive work experience."

An example of an ethnic problem occurred when a Chinese cultural center requested 20 youths to assist, among other things, in translating and filling out forms. The work order said the center preferred Chinese-speaking youths. When the organization was sent black Americans, they sent them back, the report said.