Fairfax City Mayor John Russell says that for a few days he toyed with the idea of vetoing a council resolution protecting several former city officials from legal costs and any possible damages that might be assessed in an upcoming court case involving a rezoning decision.

"If I had vetoed the resolution, it only would have caused more flak in the city," Russell said. "This city is like a lawn that somebody hasn't mowed in two years and I'm trying to drag a push mower through it. I'm finding beer bottles and bodies and everything else. I don't guess there is any need to throw in my own bottles by vetoing."

The council voted last week to indemnify former mayor Fredric Silverthorne, former council members John Perrin and Willliam Calnan, and Carl Hemmer, who was reelected to the current council. In June 1981, the four voted against rezoning a half-acre tract in the 4000 block of University Drive from town-house to commercial use.

Richard W. and Henry A. Long, who own that half-acre tract and an office building on the adjacent land, claim that their business was damaged by the rezoning decision and have filed suit in Fairfax Circuit Court seeking $27,000 in damages from the four. The court date is set for Oct 20.

The current council has insurance to protest itself from such suits.