Clinton Cuts 100,000 Jobs, White House Staff, Perks
WASHINGTON--President Clinton last week issued a series of executive orders to cut 100,000 federal jobs, reduce the White House staff by 25 percent, and eliminate a host of perquisites for top government officials.
While some Cabinet secretaries rushed to explain how they plan to respond, the orders will not likely mean major changes at the Education Department, a spokeswoman said.
"We're examining our structure and seeing if there are places we can trim the fat,'' Linda Burstyn, the acting director of public affairs, said. "We haven't made any decisions yet.''
Mr. Clinton ordered each federal agency to cut 3 percent of its personnel slots over three years through attrition or early retirement, and to cut administrative costs 14 percent by fiscal 1997.
Ms. Burstyn noted that accomplishing the steps may prove particularly difficult at the Education Department--an already-small agency that suffered deep cuts during the Reagan Administration.
"Reagan didn't succeed in abolishing it,'' Ms. Burstyn said, "but he was successful in significantly downsizing it.''
Each agency was also ordered to cut its "executive vehicle'' fleets by at least 50 percent, limit use of government aircraft, and eliminate home-to-office limousine privileges for officials below the Cabinet level.
Ms. Burstyn said that there are only seven vehicles in the department's motor pool and that only the Secretary and the deputy secretary now have limousine privileges.
The agency does not have an executive dining room, a perk Mr. Clinton suggested eliminating. However, Ms. Burstyn said, the steward responsible for preparing meals to be served in the Secretary's conference room will be reassigned to scheduling and advance work.
Mr. Clinton also ordered agencies to cut at least a third of their advisory committees not established by statute. Ms. Burstyn said the department was still trying to determine how many of their panels fit that description.
In another cost-controlling effort, the President last week reduced the White House staff by 25 percent, including an 84 percent cut in the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Mr. Clinton ordered that 121 of 146 positions in the drug office be eliminated.
It is unclear how many of those positions involved drug-education efforts, a spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman said the cuts are scheduled to take effect Oct. 1. She said the timetable will give Mr. Clinton time to name a new "drug czar'' and determine exactly which positions to eliminate. Fifty-two of the 146 positions are political appointments, she added.
John Walters, who joined the office in 1989 as its staff director, resigned his post as acting director when the cuts were announced. He had been the only political appointee to stay on to assist with the transition.
He said the office is responsible for coordinating drug-control policy among federal agencies, providing information to Congress, coordinating international efforts with the State Department, serving as a liaison to states, and helping the President carry out his leadership role in the area.
"You cannot do all of that with a person who is going to have a
staff of 25,'' Mr. Walters said. "The Clinton Administration is saying
we're going to downplay the drug issue.''
Vol. 12, Issue 21