Raymond A. Fontaine, who has overseen every presidential transition since 1969 and is one of the federal government's most honored workers, was removed last month from his job as comptroller of the General Services Administration after investigators began examining his relationship with a credit card representative.

A GSA spokesman said Fontaine, who has won cash bonus awards for seven years in a row, was "temporarily reassigned" Oct. 29 and placed in the agency's office of policy analysis as an acting deputy administrator.

The action came after officials of New York-based Citicorp, a bank-holding company, alerted the agency that its auditor had discovered a "questionable" expense account involving a GSA employee and a bank employee based here. "The person involved broke the rules," said Susan Weeks, a Citicorp spokeswoman.

Neither Weeks nor GSA officials would elaborate, but others familiar with the case said it involved Fontaine and Eric Swanson, a vice president of Citicorp's Diners Club subsidiary.

Until 1988 Swanson was based in Washington and was responsible for a Diners Club contract under which government workers were given Diners Club credit cards for use in government travel.

Under a GSA contract, the Diners Club has provided the cards to 650,000 federal workers at no cost to the government. The Diners Club earns revenue through the portion of the government's $1.5 billion in credit card billings that merchants pay.

GSA spokesman Paul Costello declined to discuss Fontaine's transfer, which was first reported by the Washington Business Journal, a weekly business publication. Costello and other GSA officials said that Fontaine, who had never hesitated to tell incoming and outgoing presidents what expenses they could charge to the government, was not involved in the award of the Diners Club contract. It was issued in 1983 and renewed in 1988.

Weeks would say only that the bank official involved "showed poor judgment" and had violated the bank's entertainment rules. She declined to discuss the rules. "I would characterize them {the violations} as minor, but our policies are our policies," she said.

She said the bank's auditors discovered the problem "during the normal audit process." Citicorp has concluded its investigation, holding that the bank worker had acted on the basis of a "personal relationship" with the GSA employee. The bank disciplined the employee, Weeks said.

Fontaine did not return telephone calls. Costello, the GSA spokesman, said Fontaine had been advised by his attorneys not to discuss the case.

One source said Fontaine discovered he was being investigated when he learned his telephone records were being taken by investigators. The investigation is being conducted by the GSA's inspector general.