Shaun Adamec, the governor's press secretary, used to have that job in Rawlings-Blake's shop. O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake use the same fundraiser, Colleen Martin-Lauer.

And when Rawlings-Blake was trailing Michael Sarbanes in the 2007 race for City Council president, O'Malley offered up one of his most trusted aides, Sean Malone.

"She was running against a well- financed son of a senator," Malone said. "O'Malley said if you can help, go help."

Malone knocked on doors, pounded in yard signs and gave advice. Now a lobbyist, he is not assisting Rawlings-Blake in her transition.

Some city staff wonder privately whether O'Malley will exert undue influence over City Hall with Rawlings-Blake's ascension. Malone bristled at the notion.

"Rawlings-Blake has no boss," Malone said. "She just doesn't. O'Malley is the same way. ... They have their own drive."

Observers say it will be good for Rawlings-Blake to show independence.

Matthew A. Crenson, professor emeritus of political science at the Johns Hopkins University, said she should fill her staff openings with a mix of former Dixon and O'Malley people.

"It gives her some independence," he said. "It sets her apart from both O'Malley and Dixon. She has a little leverage of her own. She is not hearing advice that comes all from one direction or another."

There's no word on which Dixon staffers will go and who will stay. Most who work for the mayor are writing transition memos. Reached by cell phone, Dixon told a reporter she worked until 7 p.m. Thursday and had another long day planned.

So did Rawlings-Blake. She has met with Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, Fire Chief Jim Clack and the heads of the other major city agencies, according to a statement released Friday.

Baltimore Sun reporter Julie Scharper contributed to this article.