The crews, including city workers and those employed by contractors, reported for duty at 2 a.m. yesterday and worked until nightfall. They will continue the schedule through Sunday.

Work is being done on major arterials in nonrush periods and on residential streets during the rush hours, the city's communications office said, quoting the mayor as saying "my government is a caring government" that wants "to maintain the quality of life in our residential areas." The epidemic of potholes followed the region's long siege of below-freezing weather.

The repair effort will consume 2,000 tons of asphalt mix, compared with 440 tons during all of February 1981, the city spokesman said. To pay for it, Barry will seek a supplemental appropriation of $1 million to add to the $300,000 for pothole repairs that had been budgeted for the entire year.

On Wednesday, the D.C. Transportation Department's telephone "potline" received 191 calls. By 10:30 a.m. yesterday, another 127 were recorded. The number is 282-2337.

Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes chose replacements yesterday for two members of the Maryland Occupational Disease Board who resigned last year when questions of possible conflicts of interests were raised about their roles.

Newly named to the three-member board were Dr. Philip Myers, 68, of St. Margaret's, a radiologist at a Navy clinic in Annapolis, and Dr. M. Susan Bollinger, 41, of Westminster, a staff member of the Carroll County General Hospital. Hughes said he hopes the part-time board will "dig into the backlog of cases" filed by workers claiming compensation for disabilities from job-related ailments.

The new members replace Dr. J. Howard Franz, a Bel Air radiologist who also was a paid consultant to Bethlehem Steel and Allied Chemical, two major employers, and Dr. James Frenkil, the operator of a large Baltimore industrial clinic funded by employers and insurance companies.

The third board member, who continues on the job, is Dr. John Schaefer, 68, a retired general practitioner with no ties to industry.

Unemployment among District of Columbia residents edged up 0.2 percent in December to 8.6 of the work force, a total of 25,300 without jobs, the D.C. Employment Services Department reported yesterday. In the same month, the national jobless rate was 8.9 percent.

In suburban Virginia and Maryland, 60,000 were jobless in December, representing an unemployment rate of 4.4 percent, a decline of 0.1 percent from November. The metropolitan jobless rate for the city and suburbs combined was 5.2 percent, unchanged from November.

Between December 1980 and December 1981, the department reported that the number of jobs in the District held by city and suburban residents declined by 26,900 to a total of 607,000, largely the result of reduced government employment and slowed growth in the private sector.

Lenny Skutnik of Lorton, the 28-year-old Congressional Budget Office worker who dived into the icy Potomac River and rescued a survivor of the recent Air Florida crash, continues to receive accolades at the highest levels of government.

First he was a guest of President Reagan at his delivery of the State of the Union message in which the president cited Skutnik's valor. On Wednesday, Skutnik visited Virginia's Capitol in Richmond and received a standing ovation in both legislative chambers, which adopted commendatory resolutions. Next on Skutnik's itinerary: a visit to the legislature of his native Mississippi.

Lanny J. Davis of Rockville has been elected 1982 chairman of the Washington Suburban Transit Commission, the agency that coordinates Montgomery and Prince George's counties' participation in the Metro system. Davis was the Democratic nominee for Congress from the 8th Congressional District in 1976.

Speaking of congressional candidacies, word is being spread that Democratic former representative Herbert E. Harris will announce next Thursday his candidacy to regain Virginia's 8th District seat that he lost in 1980 to GOP Rep. Stanford E. Parris. It will be the third rhyming Harris-Parris campaign.