WASHINGTON - Mary Ellen Withrow, the treasurer of the state of Ohio for the last 11 years, has been nominated by President Clinton to be treasurer of the United States, Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen said yesterday.

Withrow, a Democrat, must be confirmed by the Senate, but her nomination will not be taken up until Congress reconvenes in late January.

As treasurer of the United States, Withrow will oversee the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, which prints paper money as well as postage and revenue stamps; the U.S. Mint, which makes coins and medals; and the U.S. Savings Bond Division.

Withrow, whose signature will appear on U.S. paper currency, said yesterday that her mission will be to cut waste and improve management.

Withrow was elected Ohio treasurer in 1982 and reelected in 1986 and 1990. As state treasurer, she has been involved with the issuance of about $5 billion of bonds, either through her office or through her position on the boards of the state Commissioners of the Sinking Fund and the Ohio Public Facilities Commission.

Her office sold $120 million of general obligation bonds on Monday - the fifth such bond sale since 1988, when voters approved the issuance of $1.2 billion for infrastructure improvements. About $600 million of GO bonding remains from the original authorization.

If confirmed by the Senate, Withrow will replace Catalina Villalpando, who served from Nov. 20, 1989, until last Jan. 20, when the Bush Administration left office. The post has been vacant for 10 months.

Ohio Gov. George Voinovich will name Withrow's replacement. The appointed treasurer will serve until a new treasurer is elected next November. A spokesman for Voinovich said the governor, who is attending a Republican governors meeting in Arizona, has not yet announced the appointment.

Withrow, who said she wants to make a smooth transition for her successor, began her public career in 1969 when she became the first woman elected to the Elgin Local School Board in Marion County, Ohio. She was elected treasurer of Marion County in 1976 and reelected in 1980.

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