On his first business day on the job, Joshua Bolten called on senior staffers Monday to let him know if they plan to stay on for the remainder of this year. The implied message: if not, then get ready to clear your office now, CBS News correspondent Peter Maer reports.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Bolten told a senior staff meeting to challenge presidential aides to ''refresh and re-energize."
Bolten did not ask for anyone's resignation at the meeting and no one stepped forward to say they would leave, either, McClellan said. But Bolten told the aides to expect "some changes and adjustments" after he's gone through the process of talking to the staff.
Bolten has President Bush's full authority to make changes to the staff, which has had a low turnover rate, with many aides serving him for years. Bolten already has had closed door meetings with some top advisers and plans more in the coming 10 days or so to talk about their roles going forward, McClellan said.
"Josh talked to us and talked about how he is assuming his new position and responsibilities during a challenging time period," McClellan said. "We remain engaged in an ongoing global war on terrorism, and that is of course our highest priority. But there are a number of other priorities that we are working to accomplish as well. And Josh talked about how this will refresh and re-energize the team and for all of us to renew our commitment as we go forward."
Bolten is only Mr. Bush's second chief of staff. His predecessor, Andy Card, served in the job for more than five years but resigned amid tensions with Congress, all-time low approval ratings for Mr. Bush and calls from Democrats and Republicans to bring in a fresh perspective.
Bolten had served as the president's budget director and will be announcing a replacement for that position soon, McClellan said. The job of domestic policy adviser at the White House is open, as well. But further changes are clearly on the horizon, and Bolten gave top aides the option of leaving first.
"He wanted to make sure he had the team in place that is going to be here for a minimum of the remainder of the year," McClellan said. "And he said if people are thinking about leaving, that now is the time to come to such a decision."
McClellan would not comment on whether he plans to continue working at the White House.
"I never speculate about personnel measures," McClellan said, repeating his standard reply to questions about staff changes with a smile.