- Associated Press - Sunday, December 9, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The incoming Salt Lake County recorder brings 15 years of experience working in the county clerk’s office as she prepares to take over an office that went through serious turmoil in recent years as the health of the late Gary Ott worsened.

Democrat Rashelle Hobbs said she hopes to bring stability and a sense of team to the office, The Salt Lake Tribune reports . She also plans to bring more transparency and improve customer service.

She will be the fourth leader of the office in the last 15 months.

In the Nov. 6 election, Hobbs defeated former Republican state legislator Adam Gardiner, who had been appointed in 2017 to the recorder position after Ott resigned. He died in October of that year after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Before Gardiner, Ott’s former chief deputy Julie Dole ran the office.

“I don’t really consider myself a professional politician. I’m a public servant, and I work hard,” Hobbs said. “If I were to describe myself, I’m more interested in the service and the work than the politics.”

A report from the Utah auditor in 2017 found that Ott had little oversight over his office’s finances for years, reinforcing an earlier investigation that found the same thing. County officials worried that he was being manipulated by his staff in his final years, including an aide who was also identified as Ott’s girlfriend.

“It’s unfortunate what happened with Gary,” Hobbs said. “In my interactions with him at the county, he was a lovely man. And I think that it is tragic that when you Google his name, rather than reading about the kind, gentle person he is, it’s scandal. And that’s a shame and it could have been avoided.

Q. Dang, the executive committee chair of the Salt Lake County Democratic Party, said the party was very happy that Hobbs agreed to run for the position.

“She’s a dynamic candidate,” Dang said. “She worked hard getting voters to know her.”

Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen said she’s excited to see what Hobbs can accomplish in the position. Swensen has worked with Hobbs for years.

“She’ll be very innovative,” Swensen said. “What I’ve seen in her was she was always willing to do whatever she could for the public.”

Hobbs says she was inspired to run by her grandfather George W. Diehl, a former mayor of Tooele from 1983-1994. He died in early October at age 99, and before he could vote for his granddaughter.

Even though he wasn’t there on election night, Hobbs said she felt his presence.

“And his wisdom and guidance will be with me as I assume my new role as the county recorder,” Hobbs said.


This version corrects Hobbs’ first name, Rashelle not Rachel.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

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