Former Rep. Joseph L. Fisher of Arlington is one of three Washington area residents expected to be named to cabinet posts in the Robb administration.
Charles S. Robb, the first Democrat to be elected governor since 1965, is expected to make a clean sweep, replacing all six of the cabinet secretaries appointed by Republican Gov. John N. Dalton. He will announce his choices, said to include one woman and one black, at a press conference Tuesday morning.
Knowledgable Democrats say Fisher has been approached for the job of secretary of human resources, the cabinet officer in charge of Virginia's multibillion dollar welfare and health programs, including the trouble-plagued mental health system and a Medicaid program that faces a $103 million deficit over the next two years.
They also say Wayne F. Anderson, executive director of the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations and former city manager of Alexandria, has been tapped for secretary of administration and finance, which under Dalton was the most influential of the cabinet posts.
Robb also has tapped Franklin E. White, a Silver Spring attorney who was a domestic policy adviser on criminal justice issues to the Carter administration and who once worked for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in New York, as secretary of public safety. The appointment will place White, who is black, in charge of the state police, the state's overcrowded prison system and the enforcement of state liquor laws.
Two other likely appointees are John Casteen, dean of undergraduate admissions at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, for secretary of education, and Betty J. Diener, dean of Old Dominion University's School of Business in Norfolk, as secretary of commerce and resources.
Fisher, 67, is a moderate-liberal who went to Congress in 1974 by defeating longtime GOP Rep. Joel T. Broyhill in Northern Virginia's 10th district, and lost his congressional seat last year to conservative Republican Frank Wolf. Since leaving public office he has worked for the Wilderness Society, a conservation organization.
Fisher is the only major state Democratic figure to make Robb's cabinet list. Most of the others have extensive backgrounds in the subjects in which their agencies deal but little experience in Virginia politics. Nominees, who are subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, are not required to be Virginia residents.
Virginia cabinet posts carry salaries of $59,000 a year.
Fisher was expected to challenge Wolf to a rematch next year. His acceptance of the cabinet post is likely to touch off a free-for-all among local Democrats for the party's nomination.
Robb and his transition team subordinates have refused comment on the appointees except to say they would seek the most talented people they could find for the jobs. Other advisers say Robb from the start had leaned toward replacing all of Dalton's holdovers.
"Chuck felt it was critical to bring fresh blood in," said Alexandria lawyer William G. Thomas, a Robb confidant who confirmed Anderson's appointment as administration and finance secretary. "He Anderson is going to be a real heavyweight and good for state government," said Thomas.
Thomas said Robb is prepared to take some criticism from Democratic leaders, many of whom lobbied intensively for more partisan appointees. "He'll get some flak but the one choice he clearly made early on was not to fill it the cabinet with politicos," said Thomas.
Robb also was under intense pressure to retain some of Dalton's appointees, most especially Maurice Rowe, secretary of commerce and resources, who at 59 is one year away from a state pension. Insiders expect Rowe and the present secretary of finance and administration, Stuart Connock, to remain in state government, but not in their present posts. Connock is a possible candidate for secretary of transportation.
The state's black community, which turned out in record numbers and gave Robb 97 percent of its vote against Republican J. Marshall Coleman, may be the interest group most satisfied with Robb's appointees. "The cabinet is important, not for controlling the real workings of government, as much as the image of government," said Richmond state Sen. L. Douglas Wilder, Virginia's only black senator and a Robb advisor. "I think Chuck's commitment as reflected in these appointments will be sufficient to assuage whatever doubts people have."
Wilder said blacks also want key appointments in state agencies. "We're not just interested in titular leadership--we want to see the hands on the controls of the levers," he said.
The governor's cabinet was first created in the early 1970s under the administration of Gov. Linwood Holton, the state's first Republican governor. Holton came under fire from many Republicans at the time for not appointing partisans to the posts. CAPTION: Picture, EX-CONGRESSMAN FISHER. . .a $59,000-a-year job in Richmond