Sources say Daniel Oliver has been shifted from his position as general counsel in the Education Department to the staff of the White House.
Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell reportedly fired Mr. Oliver, who is said to be in the conservative wing of the Republican Party, for criticizing the Secretary's policies, according to the sources. The Secretary is said to have been particularly disgruntled over disparaging remarks reportedly made by Mr. Oliver about him to White House staff members.
A spokesman for the White House did not know what Mr. Oliver's position there will be. Officially, the department has "no comment" about Mr. Oliver's status; his secretary responds to phone calls with the statement that he is out of the office but will call in to receive messages.
Questions about the department's legal matters are referred to Hunter Harrison, who is identified as acting general counsel. Previously, Mr. Harrison was an assistant to Secretary Bell for regulatory reform.
Anthony Blankley, the department's deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, has also moved to the White House staff. His position there will be deputy director of the office of planning and evaluation.
Also in the Education Department, J. Douglas Holladay, executive assistant to Gary L. Bauer, deputy undersecretary for planning, budget, and evaluation, has been appointed by Secretary Bell to coordinate the department's activities that involve the teaching profession. He is likely to be named to chair a new interdepartmental task force that will, among other things, consider legislation aimed at upgrading the profession through federal initiatives. He has also been asked to monitor teacher-related initiatives--such as master-teacher and merit-pay plans--at the state and local levels.
Linda Chavez, the new staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, has circulated a memo to the panel's members urging them to reverse themselves on the question of affirmative action in layoffs of public employees.
That act marked the first time that the former assistant to Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers, has challenged longstanding commission policy. She was appointed to the commission by President Reagan during the Congress's recent recess.
Also last week, William Bradford Reynolds, assistant attorney general for civil rights, told members of state civil-rights commissions at a meeting here that Mr. Reagan's civil-rights policies were consistent with those of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey.
Mr. Reynolds's message apparently did not sit well with the state commissioners. One termed his speech "rhetorical claptrap"; another called it "a preposterous insult."--tm@ tt