I believe Riker (and Troi, for whatever reason) often oversaw the actual crew as seen by the crew evaluations and such that are seen throughout the series, which Picard isn't involved in. I would imagine this is relatively consistent with how it would operate in the real world as well.
Glad my meaningless question thread managed to generate some meaningful discussion. I may post a separate thread about this because I now have several questions about who selected which crew members for assignment and promotion.
My failing memory actually did recall that Riker oversaw crew evaluations. My assumption was that he is responsible for transfers and promotions, but it's got me thinking: who selected the original, starting crew for the Enterprise? For example, did Picard select the senior staff and only other key positions?
Follow-up question: if Riker was responsible for most transfers, assignments, and promotions, I take it Picard still had to approve each one of these?
I think Riker's role is one of the strengths of TNG versus TOS. In TOS, it's barely hinted what Spock's responsibilities as 1st officer are. It's clear in TNG that Riker has day to day responsibility for running the ship. (Picard does make it clear that he hand picked his senior staff, including is Executive Officer) In Richard Henry Dana's classic of a sailor's life in the 1830s "Two Years Before the Mast" he has this vivid description of a first mate's place (this is a civilian sailing ship, but I think it applies well enough here) [i]The prime minister, the official organ, and the active and superintending officer, is the chief mate. He is first lieutenant, boatswain, sailing-master, and quarter-master. The captain tells him what he wishes to have done, and leaves to him the care of overseeing, of allotting the work, and also the responsibility of its being well done. The
mate (as he is always called, par excellence
) also keeps the log-book, for which he is responsible to the owners and insurers, and has the charge of the stowage, safe keeping, and delivery of the cargo."