Parris Glendening, the Prince George's County executive widely credited with leading the county from fiscal stagnation to an economic renaissance, has hit the first rough waters of his five years in office.

In the last few months, Glendening has feuded with a variety of traditional supporters, including many in the coalition of blacks, women, labor leaders and educators who backed him in 1982 and returned him to office last year.

While there is overwhelming praise for his crusade to lure new investment to Prince George's and focus attention on a nationally recognized school system and streamlined county government, there is also growing criticism that Glendening is too often willing to bypass the legislative checks and balances to get things done.

So far, political observers are not speculating on the potential political fallout from the confrontations of the last few months. But it is clear that resentment is building on the County Council because Glendening sidestepped council members on several key policy decisions during this legislative session.

They point to the sleek office building in Largo that he leased for $1.2 million, without telling the council beforehand, and his plans to move county zoning and permit offices. They also note the arrangement, made 10 months before the council got wind of it, to pay a developer $1,158 a day to secure the option on land to expand a controversial landfill near Bowie.

Some council members are particularly miffed that the executive weaved into the 1987-88 budget revenue from two tax proposals, making it virtually impossible for the council to vote down the tax rises without slashing services.

"Parris has pretty much always taken the council for granted," said Sue V. Mills, one of Glendening's harshest and most outspoken critics on the council.

"There were some important issues where he overstepped his boundaries and made his little Indians upset."

"He seems more eager to do things without the proper checks and balances," said council member Richard J. Castaldi, who caught heat when the landfill purchase in his district was revealed.

All of this comes at a time when Glendening is basking in the glow of his most successful legislative session ever, of improving relations with Gov. William Donald Schaefer -- who previously blamed the county executive for not delivering a strong county showing for him in the governor's race last year -- and intense speculation statewide that Glendening is considering whether to run for governor in 1990.

The confrontations also come at a time of political maneuvering in the county to provide a credible voice of opposition to rival him -- opposition that did not exist during Glendening's five years in office.

In his first term, supporters and critics agree, the council gave him carte blanche on most issues, something it is not prepared to do again during the next three years.

"The honeymoon period is definitely over," said one Glendening supporter.

Advisers concede that Glendening has erred this year in his handling of the County Council, the result, they said, of a hectic schedule in Annapolis that netted the county almost all of his legislative proposals.

The General Assembly approved authority for the county to levy a utility tax and continue a 1 1/2 percent tax on real estate transfers, estimated to raise $63 million in new revenue, and gave the county schools $9 million.

"He doesn't suffer fools real well," said Ron Schiff, a politically active lawyer and friend and adviser to Glendening.

"That has probably caused him to do some things that perhaps some council members feel that Parris is pushing things through. But you can't tend to everything, deal with all the delegates and senators and keep your fingers in the holes of all the dikes at home."

A rift also appears to be developing between Glendening and the black community, a group gaining a political voice and representing nearly 50 percent of the county population, and eager to assert itself in county affairs.

In a heated exchange between Glendening and black business and community leaders last month, the two sides attacked each other over the county's commitment to increase the number of government contracts that go to minority-owned firms.

Glendening responded by accusing critics of political jockeying and trying to divide the county racially.

Economic development "is probably the most challenging issue for him from a political posture because the black community has been very supportive of Parris," said Sen. Albert Wynn (D-Prince George's). "If he continues that {confrontational} pattern, it will be problematic."

Meanwhile, some school officials have grumbled that Glendening's $424 million education budget -- one of the highest percentages of local government spending devoted to education in the region -- wasn't enough to meet commitments to reduce class size and increase teacher salaries, and would hinder plans to expand the magnet school program this fall.

"It might be that he feels he's got such a handle on everything, that he's got his mind made up and that this is what you need, and not really hearing or understanding it is not quite that way," said school board member Doris A. Eugene.

Such criticism seems to have little effect on a man who has shouldered the responsibility for guiding Prince George's through a critical period of transformation after the county had suffered for years from image and economic problems.

As is his style, the methodical University of Maryland political science professor intends to stick to the policies he laid out five years ago, which he calculates will take three terms to implement.

"I'm not going to be distracted by either minor side controversies or a mistake we might make," Glendening said. "You don't see us vacillating and changing policy. My style is to try to map out clearly where you are going and stick with stable, deliberate policy."

After eight years on the County Council, Glendening inherited in 1982 the responsibilities for a county stagnating after years of no growth. He and others saw county services in a near shambles from a voter-imposed tax freeze. The long-troubled school system suffered from crowded classrooms, lagging teachers' salaries and short supplies.

Now, in his race to lead the county into the future before an economic downturn arrives or the prodevelopment mood of county residents turns sour, Glendening admits that sometimes he has stepped on toes to get things done.

"I think there are some unique opportunities there and I'm trying to take advantage of them," Glendening said last week during a brief stop in a three-day tour of the county with New York bond lawyers and investors.

"In the past, the executive has never been reelected. We've always had a break in stability, in policy. {The reelection} has given {us} the ability to push hard on some issues. Perhaps in doing that, we didn't touch on all bases with the council. I kind of suffer from a sense of impatience. I see an opportunity there that may or may not be there six months from now."

Political observers said the challenge facing Glendening during the next three years will come from a County Council that wants to play a greater role in the leadership of the county.

There is already talk of restructuring the council to elect four of "We have made and are making substantial progress on practically every single front."

-- Parris Glendening

the nine council members at large. Supporters of the change argue that council strength is diluted because of a parochial view of issues fostered by the district system.

"Clearly, Parris has a certain level of confidence that was born out of his reelection," said Council Administrator Samuel E. Wynkoop.

"The council is feeling equally more confident, and a majority of them have been in government for at least four years, and they know how to handle the levers of power . . . and are demanding to be treated with more equalness."

Glendening, who is spending the August legislative recess fishing at Martha's Vineyard, is confident that conflict will pass. In September, he plans to unveil a proposal to revamp the minority business program to accommodate a larger number of black-owned businesses and deflect criticism that blacks are not getting a fair share of the economic pie.

"We have made and are making substantial progress on practically every single front," Glendening said.

"We still have much to do, including on this issue. The way to do that is by keeping a steady hand, not by swinging wildly."