Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Hanford Dole took office Feb. 7 and, as would be expected, a flock of sub-Cabinet resignations and changes have followed. At the moment there are vacancies in eight major jobs, and a ninth opening is expected. One big job--that of general counsel--has been filled. James H. Burnley IV, formerly associate deputy attorney general, has replaced John Fowler.

Darrell M. Trent resigned as deputy secretary in mid-May. Trent, an old California buddy of presidential counselor Edwin Meese III, retains a fourth-floor office at the Department of Transportation and the title of ambassador because of his continuing role as chairman of the U.S. delegation to the United States-European Civil Aviation Conference.

That mouthful is the group that negotiates international aviation agreements, something that bored former secretary Drew Lewis beyond belief but with which Trent busied himself while he was Lewis' deputy. Trent will be paid on an hourly basis at the ES-6 level, which pays $67,200 annually.

Meanwhile, Trent has become chairman and chief executive officer of Rollins Environmental Services Inc., a Wilmington, Del., firm that specializes in incinerating toxic and other hazardous industrial wastes.

Two names mentioned as possible successors are Carlos Villareal and Webster (Dan) Todd, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. Both have good Republican credentials. Todd recently resigned an executive position with Frontier Airlines. Villareal, who is Hispanic, loves to show up at conventions of the American Public Transit Association as the first administrator of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA). * * *

ASSISTANTS WANTED . . . Two assistant secretaries have left. Lee Verstandig, assistant secretary for governmental affairs, was dispatched first to the Environmental Protection Agency to see if he could help shore up the walls before Anne M. Burford caved in, and is now at the White House as director of intergovernmental affairs. His DOT deputy, Edmund (Kip) Hawley, will join him July 1 at the White House. The job of assistant secretary for policy and international affairs, recently vacated by Judith Connor, is expected to be filled soon by Matthew Scocozza, now deputy assistant secretary of State for transportation and telecommunications. * * *

ADMINISTRATORS WANTED . . . Two of the DOT's sub-agencies are without leaders--the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration. Raymond A. Peck Jr. has just left NHTSA. He is expected to be replaced by Diane Steed, a former deputy NHTSA administrator and now a special assistant to Dole, although no one has been named officially.

Robert Blanchette has departed as chief of the railroad agency. No successor has been named, although rumors have mentioned his deputy, Thomas A. Till, and Charles Swinburn, deputy assistant secretary of the DOT for policy and program development. Swinburn, a career civil servant, was given high marks for monitoring and coordinating the DOT's response to efforts to stage a nationwide truck strike last December.

The current mass transit agency administrator, Arthur E. Teele Jr., is expected to leave that position about July 1. The deputy's job has been vacant for some weeks. Teele hasn't resigned, so "obviously we can't look for anyone," an official said. Obviously.