William E. Foley, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts since 1977, announced his retirement last week, effective when a successor is named. Foley, 73, has been with the office since 1964.

Foley's boss, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, said, "We are indebted to Bill Foley for his outstanding dedication and splendid service . . . . His strong leadership will be missed."

The search is on for a successor for the $76,000-a-year job. The Administrative Office handles the support functions for the federal judiciary, including personnel, budgets, statistics and other tasks needed to keep the courts working.

President Reagan has given a recess appointment to Helmut A. Merklein to be administrator of the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration. Merklein, who has been assistant secretary for international affairs and energy emergencies, will succeed J. Erich Evered. Merklein will serve until Congress adjourns at the end of 1985, unless he is confirmed by the Senate before then.

At the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, James M. Taylor has been appointed director of the Office of Inspection and Enforcement, effective Jan. 19. Taylor has been deputy director of the office since October 1983. He will replace Richard C. DeYoung, who is retiring from the NRC.

Aaron W. Reese has been appointed director of the Federal Maritime Commission's Bureau of Hearing Counsel. Reese, a commission staff member since 1977, replaces John Robert Ewers, who became director of the new Office of Regulatory Overview.

Harmon Kallman, a well-respected public affairs official at the Interior Department, will retire today after 21 years with the government.