WASHINGTON - Clark Johnson's effort to blend into the background is foiled when Angela Schulze jokes about his wardrobe full of white dress shirts.
During his first two weeks as chief of staff for Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., the soft-spoken Johnson has regularly worn white shirts under his dark suits, according to Schulze, Burns' scheduler.
If not for Schulze's good-natured ribbing, the former Bozeman city manager would not have garnered any attention as he slipped out of his Spartan office.
Unlike his father, Montana State Sen. Royal Johnson, R-Billings, or the boisterous Burns, Clark Johnson is happy to work quietly behind the scenes. Clark Johnson, who lost a 1996 race against state Sen. Dorothy Eck, D-Bozeman, says he has no intention to ever seek elective office again.
"I enjoy being an administrator," Johnson said. "I like the implementation of policy. That is what I am doing here. That is what I did in Bozeman."
Johnson replaced Will Brooke, who returned to Bozeman to practice law and head President Bush's Montana re-election campaign. Johnson's wife, Cindy, and daughters, 11-year-old Paige and 12-year-old Caylin, are still deciding if they will move to Washington.
"That's a decision we will make together," Johnson said. "They'll be out here in a few weeks to look the place over. Paige and Caylin are very anxious to come out and see D.C. They have been reading about it and studying it."
Moving to Washington and joining Burns' staff had not been on Johnson's agenda until he learned during an October 2003 meeting that Brooke planned to resign. He half-joked that he had planned to mow lawns at a golf course after working as city manager.
While in Washington, the main mouth Johnson will have to listen to belongs to Burns, who has been known to chew a few ears off. Johnson said he has a good relationship with Burns and should be able to handle the senator's chitchat.
"The guy is a scream, he is a blast," said Johnson.