When City Attorney Dave McMullin retired earlier this year and ended a 61-year reign of McMullins in the position, city officials didn't have to look far for a replacement.

Glen K. Vernon, an attorney already serving as the city administrator, assumed McMullin's duties in February. And with those duties came a difficult case - working on the city's defense in the Utah Taxpayers Association's lawsuit against Payson's utility tax.Vernon said that case - the association is protesting the fact that a 1987 Utah statute prohibits referendum votes on city-imposed taxes - is "going well, although I can't get into any specifics."

The city "has the law on its side in the issue; however, thereare many issues involved in the dispute," he said.

Vernon said he enjoys both jobs, especially since the new duties allow him to practice more law. However, both are time-consuming posts, with Springville attorney Randy Kester handling some of Payson's prosecution chores.

"Evidently I have some very big shoes to fill," he said, referring to McMullin's 33 years as city attorney and the preceding 28-year term by McMullin's father.

Dave McMullin, who is recovering from recent surgery, is still tying up some loose ends for some prosecution cases he handled, though he said he is concentrating on his "real love" - the family's fruit-orchard business.

He said he wishes Vernon well in his new duties and he considers Vernon a fine replacement. "I feel like he's a nice and able individual and that Randy should help him do a good job."

Though Vernon had assumed some of the city's civil law duties because of his administrative position, city officials say they considered him a natural replacement.

No time period has been set for Vernon's attorney term, and city officials are watching to see how he balances both positions. Also, officials are considering creating a city prosecutor position for Kester should the duties prove too overwhelming for Vernon.

Mayor Richard Harmer reports that the council believes Vernon is doing well in the post and that for the time being he will remain splitting time between his duties.

"So far, he's been wonderful," Harmer said. "We've just got to make sure he has enough time to perform both his positions adequately."

Vernon was appointed city administrator in July 1989, ending Payson's three-month search for a replacement for Rod Watkins, who resigned after conflicts with some council members. Having served previously in the post from 1982 to 1983, Vernon was not among the original candidates for the administrator job but eventually was selected out a field of 122 applicants.

He served similar posts in Fort Bragg, Calif., and Roosevelt and has a degree from the University of Utah College of Law as well as a master's degree in public administration from Brigham Young University.