President-Elect Names Leaders of Transition Team

By Julie A. Miller — November 18, 1992 2 min read
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President-elect Bill Clinton has named the leaders of his transition team, but asserted in his first post-election news conference that he would personally control the process.

“I’ve spent a lot of time discussing potential Cabinet appointments’’ and “the kind of things we want these departments to do,’' Mr. Clinton said. “Nobody on this board is going to be making these decisions; I’m going to be making them.’'

Mr. Clinton last week named Al From, a former executive director of the Democratic Leadership Council, to coordinate the domestic-policy aspects of his transition effort.

Mr. Clinton was a founder of the D.L.C., a group of elected officials from all levels of government that sought to turn the Democratic Party in a more centrist direction.

Robert Reich, a Harvard University economist who has been a member of Mr. Clinton’s inner circle, will coordinate the economic-policy aspects of the transition.

Mr. Clinton had earlier named Warren M. Christopher, a former deputy secretary of state, as transition director, and Vernon E. Jordan, a former president of the National Urban League, as chairman of the transition board. Both had been part of a small group that began transition work before the election. (See Education Week, Nov. 11, 1992.)

The next step, according to Washington veterans, is to organize teams of advisers to concentrate on specific areas, such as education.

Meanwhile, Education Department officials have begun preparing to work with Mr. Clinton’s team. Deputy Secretary David T. Kearns issued a memo naming William D. Hansen, the assistant secretary for management and budget, chairman of the agency’s six-person transition team.

“We’ve got to have a point of contact for the Clinton people,’' said Etta Fielek, a spokeswoman for Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander. “We’ve been contacted by no one yet, but we’re ready.’'

Ms. Fielek said Mr. Alexander has held three meetings--with senior department officials, his own senior staff, and all the agency’s political appointees--to personally ask for their cooperation.

Personnel and Policy

The primary work of the Clinton transition team will be to make recommendations on top-level appointees. (See related story, page 1.)

But the team may also make other recommendations.

“You form a team of people who are conversant with education policy, and meet with people in the administration to ask them how things function,’' said Lorelei Kinder, who headed the education transition team for the Reagan Administration.

“We made recommendations for structural changes, adding or subtracting jobs; and for changes in policy,’' said Ms. Kinder, now the executive director of the California Republican Party.

Dropping early hints last week that the Clinton Administration would make changes in the White House personnel structure, the President-elect’s transition chiefs reiterated campaign promises to cut the staff by 25 percent and establish an “Economic Security Council.’'

In appearances on television talk shows, Mr. Jordan and Mr. Christopher said that the council would be analogous to the National Security Council that focuses on foreign affairs, and that its chairman would have a status similar to that of the President’s national security adviser.

Mr. Clinton and his transition chiefs also said they would convene a conference of business and labor leaders and economic-policy experts to discuss the state of the economy.

It was unclear last week how broad the purview of either the council or the conference would be, and whether they would address education and job-training issues relevant to economic competitiveness.

A version of this article appeared in the November 18, 1992 edition of Education Week as President-Elect Names Leaders of Transition Team


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