Veteran D.C. police inspector John C. Connor was named acting head yesterday of the department's Special Operations Division, the unit that handles demonstrations in the city.

The announcement, made by Police Chief Burtell M. Jefferson at a retirement luncheon for the current Special Operations head, Deputy Chief Robert W. Klotz, surprised many police officers, who had expected inspector Issac Fullwood to get the job.

Connor, 44, is a 23-year veteran of the force. He has served as head of the robbery division, and as commander of Special Operation's special tactical branch, assigned to patrol high crime and problem areas in the city. Most recently, he served as the department's discipline review officer. c

Jefferson told the luncheon gatheriing that "much to my chagrin" he has been "fighting" with city administrators about making promotions to fill the vacancies left by Klotz and his assistant, Capt. Joseph Mazur, who is also retiring.

"IM making Connor acting head of SOD but only on an acting basis because I'm not in a position to promote until I get an okay from city administrators," Jefferson said.

Mayor Marion Barry, at the Democratic Convention in New York, could not be reached for comment.

Jefferson said he believed the promotions to the higher paying jobs were being held up by city administrators to save money.