The Prince George's County Council voted yesterday to delay the reappointment of Robert M. Potter to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, a move seen as a victory for some blacks who contend that Potter is insensitive to the needs of the minority business community.

The criticism of Potter, who was WSSC chairman until two weeks ago, is being mounted by several black elected officials and leaders of black business and civic groups who are pushing the county to increase the percentage of contracts the water and sewer agency awards to minority businesses.

They also assert that Potter has failed to address a number of demands including those for increasing the staff of the WSSC's Minority Business Enterprise Office, restructuring to increase the number of contract awards to minorities and instituting a plan to increase the number of minorities, women and the handicapped in management positions.

The council action delays confirmation proceedings until July 21 to give council members and Potter's critics time to resolve concerns.

Potter's nomination to a first full four-year term on the WSSC, which awards millions of dollars in construction and procurement contracts each year, was made by County Executive Parris Glendening.

In February, Glendening bowed to pressure to appoint former Seat Pleasant mayor Henry Arrington to complete an unexpired term on the WSSC after black members of the Prince George's delegation to the Maryland legislature held up support for two county tax proposals. Glendening said he was concerned about the background of Arrington, who at the time was the WSSC's minority procurement officer. In 1973, while mayor, Arrington was arrested for allegedly pulling a gun on other town officials outside Town Hall. The charges were later dropped.

Arrington's nomination to be reappointed to the agency was also delayed by council action yesterday and Glendening said that if Potter is not confirmed, he would withdraw Arrington's name as well.

Those protesting Glendening's handling of Potter's appointment say it will hurt him in the black community.

"Glendening is misreading his second term in office," said Richard Steve Brown, executive director of the Prince George's NAACP. "We have no intention of standing by and letting him run roughshod over the black community. We will be here {at council meetings} every time demanding, by whatever means it takes, our fair share."

"Economic development is our top priority," said Linwood Jones, head of the Black Democratic Council.

Glendening characterized opposition to Potter as political manipulation by some who are seeking positions of leadership in the black community. He also said Potter is being used as a scapegoat by some who never before raised concerns about the WSSC minority business program to him or to the council.

Glendening pointed to legislation under study that would create a set-aside program in the WSSC procurement system for minority businesses as well as other efforts to restructure the county government's own minority business participation program, which has fallen behind its goal of awarding 30 percent of all contracts to minorities.

The WSSC met its goal of awarding 25 percent of all procurement contracts to minority or women-owned firms in the fiscal year that ended in June and has exceeded its goal of awarding 10 percent of all construction contracts to minorities, commission figures show. Of the 7,946 purchasing contracts let last fiscal year, valued at $64.1 million, $16.1 milliion, or 25 percent, went to minority businesses.