Sandy • The Salt Lake County Republican Party picked state Rep. Adam Gardiner to become the next county recorder Thursday night, likely putting an end to turmoil of recent months as details about the failing health of former Recorder Gary Ott and the office’s staff came to light.
Gardiner, of West Jordan, will serve in the position, which primarily handles real estate documents, through 2018. He will resign from his legislative position, creating a vacancy in the House.
Republicans rejected Ott’s former deputy Julie Dole, who has been acting recorder since Aug. 1. Dole faced allegations that she surreptitiously ran the office for years while she and Ott’s former fiancee hid the deterioration of his mental health from public view.
Gardiner said he’ll meet with county officials almost immediately after being sworn into the office Friday morning. He won’t be keeping Dole in office, he said.
“It‘s going to be a new kind of day in the office,” Gardiner said. ”Julie Dole will not be part of that.”
Ott’s family negotiated his resignation after successfully petitioning a court to become his legal caretaker. The position will be on the November 2018 ballot.
The severity of his condition came to light in police reports. On at least three occasions since January 2016, police interacted with a confused Ott, who apparently had lived at the home of his friend and secretary, Karmen Sanone. Court documents say he has a permanent “mental incapacity.”
Gardiner said Ott was ”the real victim” after months of attention on his decline and the staff who ran the office for years as he apparently struggled.
“It‘s been well documented that he’s had a lot of health issues,” Gardiner said. ”Instead of getting help, he was kind of dragged through the mud. And that wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair to him, it wasn’t fair to his family.”
Gardiner said it was too soon to say whether others in the office would keep their jobs.
Dole was flanked by her two children as she appealed to nearly 350 Republicans to keep her in the office. She said she knew the job well and that fellow party members had been attacking her credibility.
She said she hoped Gardiner would keep staffers on board and that losing them was like losing family members.
“I‘ve been running the office for 3½ years, and the staff is family,” Dole said, tearing up. ”I just lost my family.”
She again said she had no good option in the matter, so she ran the office.
“Gary did what he wanted to do. I did what he hired me to do, and that was to run the office,” Dole said. “With his health declining, all I could do was encourage him to do things, but he was in charge of his own life until his siblings took charge of that for him.”
She said she’s not sure what she’ll do once she’s out of a job.
Republicans chose from eight candidates, including county Councilman Max Burdick. Gardiner and Scott Miller advanced to the second round of voting in accordance with the party’s rules. Burdick received the least amount of votes of any of the candidates in the first round.
Before Republicans voted, Dole was cut off from county technology, according to Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton.
”Her access to the county servers was turned off this evening,” Newton said. “We are thrilled to put this issue behind us with Julie Dole and Gary Ott in the recorder‘s office.”
The County Council will meet Friday morning to ratify the Republican Party’s choice, an unusually quick get-together. Gardiner will then be sworn in on the spot.