Linda Kamm became acting secretary of transportation late yesterday afternoon after Brock Adams and his deputy resigned in a dispute over whether Adams would report to President Carter or his chief of staff, Hamilton Jordan.

Who is Linda Kamm?

She is the Department of Transportation's general counsel and, under the succession order at DOT, became acting secretary when the two top jobs were suddenly vacated.

Adams said at an afternoon news conference that he would leave as soon as he could, and apparently that meant yesterday afternoon. W. Graham meant yesterday afternoon. W. Graham secretary of the Navy to interim DOT secretary for 30 days. Adams and clayton were to meet last night.

"Brock will come back and clean out his desk, but aside from that, he's gone," a top aide said last night.

Before adams left, he said he had major problems with the ways the reorganized Carter administration was taking shape. The Brock Adams who sometims rambles, who sometimes fouls up his sentences and who invariably departs from his prepared texts, did none of those things yesterday afternoon when he said:

"I strongly believe there must be direct Cabinet access to the president. A Cabinet officer must work directly for the president -- not for the White House staff.

About 100 DOT employes who had crowded into the sweltering conference room to hear him applauded.

Adams' resignation became a foregone conclusion Thursday when he announced he had been asked to stay on as DOT secretary but was not sure he wanted to because of questionable White House support for mass transit and a fuel-efficient automobile, two of his favorite programs. But his main point, it was clear, was to question his orders to report to Jordan.

Jordan, Adams said yesterday, had told him to fire Deputy Secretary Alan Buchanan and to send Assistant Secretary Terence Bracy "down to the White House to be talked to."

"I was not going to do that," Adams said.

Instead, he released a statement in Boston about the concerns he had. Jordan called him, and a meeting with Carter was arranged. At that meeting yesterday morning, Adams resigned. Butchanan and Bracy followed.

Will Adams fill out those famous evaluation forms that the White House requested on subcabinet employes?

"No. I'm going to throw them away."

What really made the new White House staff system so repugnant? Adams fired his heaviest shot.

"When they indicate that certain people like the deputy should be out, I find that something I have to be very careful about, because the last time that happened in this department was when Bud Krogh came over here, and it just traumatized this department."

Egil Krogh, a White House aide in the Nixon administration who was subsequently found involved in Watergate, was installed as deputy secretary of transportation at the beginning of Richard M. Nixon's second term -- a time when Nixon was accused of trying to capture the bureaucracy by putting loyal people in all departments.

Adams was praised yesterday by people from the transit community and on Capitol Hill as having been a good secretary who did his best in difficult circumstances.

One friend of Adams, a man who has known both the good and the bad times, turned to Shakespeare when asked to comment on Adams' stewardship of the department.

"Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it," he said.