SALT LAKE COUNTY -- She's at the center of the controversy surrounding the Salt Lake County Recorder's Office, and now Julie Dole is speaking out for the first time.
"To me it was people less than relevant trying to become relevant," Dole said.
The party is accusing her of manipulating her boss, Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott, and covering up his alleged mental health issues.
"Who wouldn’t be upset when your integrity is being called into question, when you’re doing nothing wrong? Who wouldn’t be upset when there is a censure based on media and perception not on truth?" Dole said.
Dole says she's not qualified to assess Ott's health, but she claims he's acting the same way he always has since a recurring bout with shingles.
"He seemed to develop a stutter and be slower of speech, so when we communicate it just means I need to wait for the answer," Dole said.
At a meeting with Dole and Ott last week, several Salt Lake County Council members, including Aimee Winder Newton, said it was clear that Ott was not well.
"We asked his address, and he couldn’t tell us his address, so there were things that showed he couldn’t answer basic questions," Winder Newton said.
However, Dole says he was just uncomfortable.
"He’s never been a great orator," Dole said. "To put yourself in front of a nine-person panel, I think a lot of people would clam up and get nervous, and that’s what it appeared to me: that Gary was in a nervous state."
Dole does want to run for county recorder when Ott's term expires in 2020. She thinks these attacks were started by a potential opponent.
"My thought is that there is somebody in the background that wants this position pretty bad and wants to do it on the cheap," Dole said.
If Ott were to resign, there would be a special election, which would only require a vote from the Republican Central Committee. A full-fledged election would require a much larger electorate and expenses related to campaigning.
Earlier this month the Salt Lake County Council said it was looking at decreasing Ott's salary and was also reaching out to the state legislature to look into creating a statute that would allow for an elected official to be removed from office due to competency concerns.