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Federal File: Still searching; A dog's life

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The law requires him to fill the post from a list of finalists submitted by the National Advisory Committee on Indian Education. He is also free to reject the group's choices.

According to the department, the job should initially have been advertised more widely and for a longer period.

Jo Jo Hunt, the n.a.c.i.e.'s executive director, said the group sent out 4,000 announcements as part of its new search, compared with some 1,400 in the earlier round. The application deadline is Jan. 12.

Ms. Hunt said she "really couldn't get a whole lot out of the department" about the reasons for its dissatisfaction with the finalists in the first search.

But the man who had been viewed as the leading candidate by many observers said he suspected partisan motives had figured in his rejection--and has reapplied for the post.

John W. Tippeconnic 3rd, an associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Arizona State University, said he was given no substantive reason for his rejection, but he surmised that his being a Democrat who had served as deputy commissioner in the oie from 1978 to 1980 under President Carter had something to do with it.

"But it's not supposed to be a political appointment," he said, "and [the department's] indications to me all along were that they wanted the best-qualified person."

The other two rejected nominees, who could not be reached for comment, were Lucille Dawson, project officer with the Health and Human Services Department's office of Native American programs, and Parnell Swett, a former deputy director of the oie and a retired school principal in Robeson County, N.C.

A recent analysis of television news coverage of the Bush Administration found that Millie, the Bush family dog, had gotten more attention than Secretary Cavazos.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs, a nonpartisan research group, analyzed some 1,800 TV reports on the Administration that aired between the President's inauguration and Dec. 1.

Among its other findings, the group reported that Millie was mentioned in more stories than three Cabinet secretaries: Mr. Cavazos, Secretary of Agriculture Clayton Yeutter, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Edward J. Derwinski.--pw & jm

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