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SALT LAKE CITY — The morning of embattled Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott's final day in office, his chief deputy was sworn in to take his place until the GOP can choose a replacement.
Julie Dole took the oath of office shortly before 11 a.m., said Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen.
Swensen said she conducted the ceremony under the direction of the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, which sent her an email instructing her to swear in Dole.
"As Julie is currently serving as appointed chief deputy recorder, Utah state statute provides that she will take over Gary's position as 'acting Salt Lake County recorder' effective noon on Aug. 1, 2017," wrote Gavin Anderson, deputy district attorney, in an email to Swensen.
Swensen said she was "just told she would need to be sworn in, and I administered the oath of office."
Dole said she will keep the office "moving forward" as the acting recorder, as she has been doing for months in Ott's absence.
"I know the job; I know the office backward and forward, so this provides continuity for the office to run well," she said.
Dole, along with Ott's office aide, Karmen Sanone, has been accused by county officials, employees and others of covering up Ott's health issues so she and Sanone could remain in their appointed positions.
Concerns of Ott's health have played out publicly over the last year and a half while he continued to collect $190,000 in taxpayer-paid salary and benefits. Throughout that time, concerns mounted when his work attendance appeared to dwindle and he became unable to engage in coherent conversations.
Since then, county officials have struggled to address the issue, having no legal means to remove Ott from office — but the situation changed when Ott's family recently obtained legal guardianship of him and worked with attorneys and county leaders to draft a resignation deal. Ott's resignation, effective Tuesday at noon, was signed by a judge last month.
Dole, who has essentially been running the recorder's office ever since Ott was last re-elected in 2014 — according to State Auditor John Dougall — will be acting county recorder until the Salt Lake County Republican Party chooses a replacement.
The party's central committee will meet and vote Aug. 17 on that replacement.
Dole is one of at least eight people who have so far expressed interest in the position, according to Salt Lake County GOP Chairman Jake Parkinson.
Parkinson said one candidate has not yet publicly announced his or her candidacy, but the others include Adam Gardiner, Scott Miller, Melvin Nimer, Sterling Schoel, Andy Eatchel and Jeff Lund.