Excerpts from a questionnaire for 1988 presidential candidates prepared by The Center for Excellence in Government:

Public opinion polls indicate that the public is looking for competent performance rather than flashy policy initiatives from their government officials. What do you think this means? How would it affect your administration if you win?

Recent studies have found that political appointees to high-level federal positions serve for very short periods (an average of about 2 years), are quite young, and seldom have extensive experience in managing large organizations . . . . If elected, you will have to make over 3,000 appointments. How will you find the talent to fill these positions . . . ?

Transitions between presidents -- even of the same party -- traditionally have been chaotic, frenzied, and a short 10 weeks. It is an anxious time as well for career civil servants, sometimes prolonged by misunderstanding and distrust on all sides. Do you regard this as an inevitable part of our system . . . . What changes would you make?

Government, in general, and specific federal agencies of all kinds have been under siege for some time; yet these agencies are expected to perform critical functions or deliver important services. If you become president, what are the most important steps you will take so that you can leave these agencies at the end of your term better off than you found them?