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Eli Segal, the chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service, fueled speculation last week that he might step down.

"For several months, I've been involved in discussions with the White House over the next phase," he told reporters, without specifically confirming that he was on the way out.

Now that AmeriCorps--the corporation's flagship program, with 20,000 volunteers in the field--is well established, Mr. Segal said, the priority is fending off critics in Congress who want to do away with the program. "We have an opportunity now to explain that it's working," he said.

And who better to convince lawmakers that AmeriCorps is a good investment than a former colleague? The Washington Post reported last week that the leading candidate to head the service effort is former Sen. Harris Wofford, D-Pa., who was a champion of AmeriCorps before he lost his 1994 re-election bid.

Mr. Wofford could not be reached for comment.

Carol H. Rasco, President Clinton's domestic-policy chief and the director of the Domestic Policy Council, has named Jeremy Ben-Ami to replace William A. Galston as deputy assistant for domestic policy. Mr. Ben-Ami, the council's chief of staff for the past year, will handle such areas as education, welfare, and immigration.

Mr. Ben-Ami previously worked on the welfare-reform task force run by the Health and Human Services Department and on the President's election campaign.

Mr. Galston left the White House to return to the University of Maryland, where he had been a professor, and to spend more time with his family. He will also be affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Council, the centrist political organization co-founded by Mr. Clinton. His exact duties there are under negotiation.

The Washington Post reported this month that former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett was rumored to be under consideration as a running mate for Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Tex., who is seeking the 1996 G.O.P. Presidential nomination.

The newspaper quoted Gramm campaign officials as denying the rumor, but said Mr. Bennett has been touted by at least one person close to Mr. Gramm--the Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition.

Mr. Bennett told the Post only that he has had "many conversations with people who are associated with Gramm."

--Robert C. Johnston & Mark Pitsch

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