According to Politico’s Ben Smith: “The executive director of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition, Chris Lu, told supporters on a conference call this afternoon that the transition will ‘really only scratch the surface as of January 20,’ and will still be filling administration jobs this spring and summer — although “there are not that many jobs” for the thousands of hopefuls.” He also noted that over 364,000 people have applied for the 4,000 or so full-time positions in the Obama Administration.
But filling those jobs will take some time. According to Alexis Simendinger of the National Journal, “Obama transition officials are making it clear to incoming Cabinet secretaries and agency heads that they’ll be handed a slate of perhaps five or six pre-screened candidates for the top jobs in their departments and encouraged to interview and hire from among those candidates. . . . If the secretaries want to reach outside those lists to make their own hires, they will be required to justify their picks to the president-elect’s top advisers, some of whom are headed for the offices of the White House Counsel and White House personnel. . . . The West Wing’s control over the top slots in each department is similar to the practices of Barack Obama’s predecessors, Presidents Bush and Clinton, but with a twist. . . . The secretaries are being told that the ethnic and racial makeup of the senior officials in their departments should reflect diversity to the extent possible.”