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Loretta Cornelius, fired by the White House as deputy...

WASHINGTON -- Loretta Cornelius, fired by the White House as deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management, is refusing to leave her $73,600-a-year job.

White House spokesman Albert R. Brashear said today that Cornelius, whose testimony before a Senate committee last year thwarted the confirmation of Donald Devine, a leading conservative, to head the personnel management office for a second time, was fired Wednesday.

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Cornelius was notified in a letter signed by from Robert Tuttle, director of presidential personnel. Brashear said she was dismissed to enable OPM Director Constance Horner to select her own deputy.

However, an angry Cornelius, whose status has been shaky since her testimony against Devine last year, said she intended to remain on the job.

'I cannot be fired by anyone but the president,' she told The Washington Post.

In his letter, Tuttle wrote: 'Persuant to the direction of the president, this is to notify you that your appointment as deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management is terminated today.'

In her testimony before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Cornelius alleged that Devine asked her to lie to the panel about his role at the federal agency while he awaited reconfirmation.

Shortly after her Senate testimony, Cornelius was accused of using a government car to travel to her farm and university classes and of asking agency staffers to type her doctoral dissertation.

'There is nothing there,' Cornelius said. 'No evidence. I want to be completely exonerated.'

'I have made it clear to everyone that I don't want to stay and that I don't want another job in the government,' Cornelius was quoted as saying. 'I just want all the allegations against me cleared up before I leave.'

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