Riley To Oversee Personnel Issues; 'Cooperative' Appointments Process Vowed
President-elect Bill Clinton's transition team continued to take shape last week, as Warren M. Christopher, the transition director, announced that former Gov. Richard W. Riley of South Carolina would oversee personnel matters.
Mr. Riley, who helped enact a major school-reform law during his two terms as Governor, has been mentioned as a possible Secretary of Education in the Clinton Administration.
At a news conference where his appointment was announced, Mr. Riley said he is "not a candidate for any job or post.'' But he did not explicitly rule out a federal job.
Mr. Christopher said Mr. Riley would head up the effort to fill political posts beneath the Cabinet level, which he said would be a "cooperative process'' in which Cabinet appointees would have some say but not absolute authority.
Many observers say President Carter's decision to allow Cabinet officers to name their subordinates led to a lack of cohesion in his Administration. (See Education Week, Nov. 18, 1992.)
"It's Governor Clinton's intention to have this be a cooperative process, one in which there would be a mutual endeavor to make these selections rather than choosing either one of the polar extremes,'' Mr. Christopher said.
Mr. Clinton had earlier named aides to lead transition efforts in the areas of domestic policy, national security, economic policy, and health-care reform. The efforts apparently will focus on policy issues rather than personnel.
Education issues would presumably be under the purview of Al From, the domestic-policy director. But The New York Times reported last week that Derek Shearer, an economics professor who was a key adviser to the Clinton campaign, would head a team working on education and training issues for Robert Reich, who was named the economic-policy director.
Separate teams are to study the work of specific federal agencies.
Also last week, Mr. Clinton met with Congressional leaders and pledged "a new era of cooperation and action'' at a joint news conference.
Mr. Clinton listed his student-aid proposal among his legislative priorities, along with health-care reform. He has proposed offering universal access to college loans, which could be repaid through payroll deductions or community service.
"The vast bulk of initiatives will be in there and be subject to
debate within 100 days, but I can't say what will and won't pass in 100
days,'' the President-elect indicated.