Concerns growing for competency, well-being of Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott

Posted at 9:36 PM, Jun 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-07 10:28:15-04

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — Concerns continue to mount about Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott.

Many Salt Lake County councilors are worried about his health and whether he can do the job he was elected to do.

Ott has spent a lot of time dodging interviews, but Deseret News reporter Katie McKellar approached him recently and recorded the conversation. His answers to simple questions like "Where do you live?" seem to indicate Ott's mental capacity is diminishing.

"The thing is if you come into my place, I can take two or three of these things on and we'd do the job and we'd get back together. You know it's just a thing. It's just simple," said Ott when asked by McKellar why he isn’t spending much time in Salt Lake County.

It's clear Ott is not making a lot of sense.

Ott’s chief deputy, Julie Dole says she listened to the interview.

Fox 13 asked Dole if she’s concerned about Ott.

“Well, yeah, I'm concerned about him but, you know, whenever I ask how he's doing he says 'I'm doing fine.'," Dole said.

When it comes to his health, Dole said Ott is a private man, but when it comes to work around the office, Dole admits she’s doing a majority of Ott’s work.

“Well, it is fair to say, but it's also the way Gary's run his office since he was elected. He's always had his chief deputy recorder run the office," Dole said.

Even if Ott has always been a hands-off boss, Dole admits he's less involved than he used to be.

"It's been a while. It's probably been last year sometime," Dole said.

However, he's still making a six figure salary: $189,000 a year, according to public records.

Fox13 asked Dole if she believes he should still be getting paid to do the job.

“That's a hard question that I think is up to the electorate," Dole said.

Dole says she's talked to Ott about people's concerns and if he should step down.

"He just says 'No, I'm not ready to retire. I still feel like I have something to offer.'," Dole said.

In terms of forcing him out of office, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said there aren't many options.

"You can only remove an elected official for high crimes or misdemeanors or maleficence, and maleficence has been legally defined as something evil," Gill said.