Montgomery County Council member Bruce Adams is finding himself increasingly on the hot seat these days. It's not so much the controversial issues facing the council but that Adams is seated between Rose Crenca and William E. Hanna Jr. -- two of the more vociferous members of the council. "Can I move?" Adams jokingly asked at a recent meeting when Crenca and Hanna clashed over whether there might be a need to raise taxes. If not, Adams said, perhaps the council should buy him a suit of armor.

Grandiose predictions are a staple of political fund-raising events, as much a part of the landscape as oversized toothpicks in the hors d'oeuvres. That was certainly the case when Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) gathered about 500 supporters last week in Greenbelt and extracted compliments -- and $125 each -- from them.

Remarkably, the rosy forecasters weren't limited to Hoyer's home-state admirers. House Majority Leader Thomas S. Foley, who with Speaker Jim Wright led Hoyer's cheering section, said the four-term congressman is destined for leadership greatness on Capitol Hill. "Steny's depended upon by the leadership, and he's going to be elected vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus," Foley told the crowd. "Someday you are going to have a speaker of the House from the 5th Congressional District of Maryland."

Hoyer is one of 10 deputy whips in the House. A Hoyer aide acknowledged that a lot of nice words get spoken at fund-raisers. Of Foley's prediction, the aide observed, "There aren't that many members he would say that about."

The chairman of the state Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, Laurence Levitan (D-Montgomery), has been stricken with hepatitis and will miss at least two weeks of the General Assembly session, he informed lawmakers last week.

The senator said he had been advised by his doctors to stay in bed.

They came to honor the man sometimes referred to as the 10th member of the nine-member Prince George's County Council: Samuel E. Wynkoop, 44, once a member of then-County Executive Winfield M. Kelly Jr.'s "Kiddie Korps" of ambitious young aides, and since 1978 the County Council administrator.

More than 500 friends, colleagues, zoning lawyers, developers and politicians crowded into La Fontaine Bleu in New Carrollton last Thursday night to feast on roasted Wynkoop, who is leaving government for private industry.

Wynkoop will open a Prince George's office of the Hallowell Corp., a Gaithersburg development firm that builds houses and office buildings.

John McDonough, a zoning lawyer and former colleague under Kelly, called Wynkoop's council post a real "phony baloney job." "He has to sit with the council every day," McDonough said. "But that's not a job. That's a punishment."

Tough-talking Circuit Judge Vincent Femia, McDonough continued, "says you can have six months in the detention center or County Council every Tuesday. Guys say, 'I'll take the detention center.' "

McDonough chided Wynkoop on his public relations prowess. County Executive Parris Glendening, McDonough said, "has crossed seven oceans" on business allegedly related to the county. "Sam takes the council over the Chesapeake Bay. {Glendening} didn't get one bad story. {Wynkoop} gets a miniseries. Going to Easton for the weekend is what Femia gives to second offenders." Wynkoop, McDonough noted, ran unsuccessfully for the County Council in 1971, then worked for Kelly before assuming his councilmanic post. He said Wynkoop has filled the role of "psychiatrist" of the council chambers.

Maryland Court of Special Appeals Judge John J. Gerrity, for whom he briefly worked when Gerrity was on the council, identified Wynkoop as "Deep Throat . . . . He makes news. There will be a void in the news" with his departure.

Just three months ago, there were whispers among employees of the Prince George's County Department of Corrections that William Davey Jr.'s career was headed quickly downhill.

An administrative review board formed in late summer to make sense out of and place blame for embarrassing events at the county's new jail said that Davey "was remiss in not fulfilling his responsibility" for failing to purchase for the jail's perimeter additional fencing and razor wire that might have prevented an August escape in which inmates used an almost identical route that inmates had used in May. Davey survived the scolding from the review board. While others in the corrections agency were forced to retire or urged to transfer for their involvement in a series of bungles, Davey received only a written letter of reprimand.

But the corrections department was not through with him. Several days ago, Davey got more. An award. And not just any award. Davey, the man the review board had strongly suggested was primarily responsible for inadvertently allowing an escape from the correctional center, received an award for "outstanding performance" by a member of the department's Bureau of Support Services.

Christy Merenda, a spokeswoman for the corrections department, said that Davey and three other employees who received similar awards at a recent banquet were nominated by supervisors and that the nominations were approved by a committee made up of section heads and representatives of the Correctional Officers Association. Merenda, who was a member of the committee, said no one raised an eyebrow when Davey's nomination came up.

One correctional officer, who asked not to be identified, said Davey's award has left many officers scratching their heads. "It was great for morale," the correctional officer said. "Now, we're not sure whether we should do our jobs or not do our jobs."

Grapevine items were written by staff writers Jo-Ann Armao, Keith Harriston, Eugene L. Meyer, Richard Tapscott and The Associated Press.