Several Marylanders are in the running for Clinton administration jobs

WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the Rouse Co., Mathias J. DeVito, is among several prominent Marylanders being considered for posts in the Clinton administration, according to congressional sources.

Lynne Battaglia, 46, a former chief of the state attorney general's criminal investigations division and now chief of staff to Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., appears to be the front-runner to become the next U.S. attorney for Maryland.


And Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has made it known that she is interested in becoming director of the Peace Corps, which was founded by her uncle, President John F. Kennedy. Another uncle, Sargent Shriver, was the first director.

"She talked to me last night [about the position]," said Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Prince George's County, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and an early Clinton backer. "I think she would be excellent, and I'm going to recommend her."


Mrs. Townsend could not be reached for comment.

The 41-year-old Towson resident is executive director of the Maryland Student Service Alliance, a public-private group that encourages student service. She was a Clinton delegate to the Democratic National Convention and was a Democratic nominee for Congress in 1986, losing to incumbent Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, a Baltimore County Republican.

Mr. DeVito, chief executive officer of Rouse, a Columbia-based real estate company, reportedly is under consideration for a senior position at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is to be headed by former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros.

The 62-year-old developer confirmed that he got "a feeler" from the Clinton transition team a week ago about going to HUD. "I said I would think about it," said Mr. DeVito, who has been chairman of Rouse for 14 years. "I haven't turned it down, but I haven't got what I consider a serious request," he said.

Company founder James W. Rouse was among those who attended the economic conference in Little Rock, Ark., last week.

Ms. Battaglia, a 1974 graduate of the University of Maryland Law School, was an assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore from 1978 to 1982. She confirmed yesterday that she was interested in the top job in that office and added, "I think I'm a strong contender."

Several Capitol Hill sources think she has a "lock" on the appointment, but she may have competition for the U.S. attorney's post from Stuart O. Simms, state's attorney for Baltimore, who said last night that he had applied for the position.

Mr. Simms, 43, who has been state's attorney since 1987, was deputy for four years before that when Kurt L. Schmoke was state's attorney. The Baltimore mayor, a close friend of Mr. Clinton, helped direct the Clinton campaign in the state, and Mr. Simms said he expects support from his former boss, among others. Mr. Simms also was an assistant U.S. attorney from 1978 to 1982.


Another local name being mentioned for an administration post is that of Rita Caldwell, a University of Maryland professor of microbiology and biotechnology who is being considered for administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"I have no comment at all. That's terribly premature," said Ms. Caldwell, 58, who also is president of the Maryland Biotechnology Institute.

NOAA, part of the Commerce Department, has wide-ranging operations that include research programs in marine and atmospheric sciences, weather forecasts and the development of policies on fisheries. There has been speculation that the Clinton administration might want to reorganize the executive branch and put NOAA in another department.

Finally, Rep. Beverly B. Byron, a Frederick Democrat who was defeated in the March primary, is the subject of continued speculation concerning a Pentagon appointment.

Mr. Hoyer said he is pushing the seven-term lawmaker for secretary of the Navy, a position she was mentioned for earlier this year.

Moreover, with the appointment of House Armed Services Chairman Les Aspin as defense secretary, there is speculation that Mrs. Byron, who is chairwoman of an Armed Services subcommittee, could join her committee colleague at the Pentagon. Mrs. Byron, 60, said she will not discuss her plans until she leaves Congress next month.


Maryland was among the strongest supporters of Mr. Clinton in November when who received 50 percent of the state's vote.