Murray • The Salt Lake County Republican Party avoided taking action against acting Recorder Julie Dole in a meeting Thursday night, one week before hundreds of party insiders are set to decide who should replace Dole’s former boss, Gary Ott.
Ott’s family brokered his resignation with the county and his independent attorney after years of apparent decline that led to what court documents refer to as a permanent mental incapacity.
The party announced on July 21 that it would open an investigation into Dole — the same day that a judge approved Ott’s resignation agreement.
“We are requesting that anybody with information that’s relevant to this investigation” contact the county party, county GOP Chairman Jake Parkinson said after Thursday‘s meeting.
The organization will meet Aug. 17 to choose between several candidates who have expressed interest in taking over the office.
Dole said the party was putting a “dark cloud” over her amid her bid to keep the office that primarily handles real estate documents for the county.
“Everybody can see that [the investigation] does put a cloud over [the election],” Dole told reporters after the party‘s executive committee adjourned Thursday.
In a public letter released hours before the meeting, Dole denied wrongdoing and announced that she would soon fully recover from a fight with breast cancer.
"I have done my utmost to execute the duties of my Oath of Office both as Chief Deputy and now as Recorder for Salt Lake County, and to serve the best interests of all of you as property holders and the public of Salt Lake County,” she wrote, calling the accusations against her “false and unfounded.”
Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, concerns had been floated that any disciplinary action before the special election could invite legal challenges, with a possible effect of delaying the vote.
Dole is one among a crowded field of candidates for the interim recorder post — a position that could give its occupant an incumbent’s advantage in the balloting next year.
She faces County Councilman Max Burdick, state Rep. Adam Gardiner and a raft of other hopefuls. State law indicates that the former official’s party will choose an interim replacement who will serve until the next general election.
Dole served as Ott’s chief deputy from March 2014 through Aug. 1, when she took over as acting recorder upon Ott’s resignation.
The accusations against Dole stem from her fierce defense of Ott’s ability to fulfill obligations of his elected post amid mounting evidence that for more than a year he played no role in running the office.