County, legal guardians of Gary Ott reach agreement for his resignation
(KUTV) An agreement has been reached for Salt Lake County Recorder Gary W. Ott to resign from his position Aug. 1.
The agreement, announced Thursday, is between his court appointed guardians and Salt Lake County, according to a joint statement from county Mayor Ben McAdams and the county's District Attorney Sim Gill. It includes a $35,000 lump sum to care for Ott after he voluntarily leaves office.
Ott has been at the center of a controversy about his ability to fill his duties as Salt Lake County Recorder. He was scheduled to stay in office until 2020.
His ability to function in his elected position first surfaced after police video emerged, showing him confused and seemingly disoriented when questioned by police after he was located on the side of a road late at night. Ott told the officer his vehicle died, and identified himself as the Salt Lake County recorder, but struggled to provide identification. Instead of his driver's license, he seemed to hand over another card, and at one point the officer said, "You can't answer any of my questions sir."
KUTV interviewed Ott about his ability to perform his duties, and he insisted the he was still able to do so in April 2016. But in subsequent interviews, including one regarding a nepotism policy, Ott rambled. The Salt Lake County Council said in the same month that it was working behind the scene to remove him from office, but had limited power because he was an elected official.
The interview below is from April, 2016.
In October 2016, in a hearing to measure his capability, he struggled to recite his home address.
Chief Deputy Recorder Julie Dole has been accused of defending Ott while he was in a diminishing state, but insists his mental capacity has not affected the day to day duties of the office.
"There's been a lot of things in the media where I wasn't shined in the best light, but just to be clear, that there is nothing I've done that is nepharious or manipulative. I've never had any control or interest in Mr. Ott's private life," Dole said.
Dole said Ott’s hands-off management style left her carrying the brunt of the task load since he hired her in 2014. She said she was capable of filling Ott’s shoes, if and when the time comes.
His ability to function in his position was increasingly called into question, but as an elected official the agreement paves the way for him to leave his office.
Utah doesn't have a law or legal precedence for an elected official accused of working with a diminishing mental capacity -- as was charged in the case of Ott.
An audit suggested his chief deputy, Julie Dole, was handling the bulk of work for the recorder's office.
The statement issued Thursday said that Ott's resignation date is certain, but remaining terms of the agreement have been submitted to a court for ratification.
“This agreement represents a significant step toward preserving for Gary the dignity and care he needs," Gill said in a statement. "We worked hard to get to this agreement in place quickly and efficiently as soon as the family was legally able to negotiate on Gary’s behalf."
The statement praised Ott for his years of honorable service.
The agreement submitted to the court is below.