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S.L. County Councilman running to replace retired recorder

SALT LAKE CITY — A Republican Salt Lake County Councilman jumped into what likely will be a crowded race Friday to replace retired county Recorder Gary Ott.

Max Burdick, who has served on the council for eight years, said it's "a new day and time for a new way" after all that has gone on in Ott's office. He said he thought about the job in the past but had to set it aside while concerns about Ott's health and frequent absence played out the past couple of years.

"It worked itself out. It got resolved with Gary retiring, and that was the time I thought I really need to decide what to do," he said during a news conference.

Burdick, a real estate agent, said there's a lot of people he needs to convince that he's the right person for the office.

Those people would be the members of the Salt Lake County Republican Party Central Committee. The committee is scheduled to vote on a replacement Aug. 17.

Ott resigned Tuesday, and his chief deputy, Julie Dole, was sworn in as acting county recorder.

County officials struggled to address Ott's situation, having no legal means to remove him from office. Ott's family recently obtained legal guardianship of him and worked with attorneys and county leaders to draft a resignation deal.

Burdick said he has no plans to investigate how the recorder's office operated the past three years should he be elected. But he wants to look carefully at policies and procedures to see if there's room for improvement.

"I am convinced there's certainly a better way to do things than the way they're being done there now," he said.

Burdick said he's not prepared to talk about any possible personnel changes until he better understands how the office is running.

Burdick and Dole are among at least eight people who have expressed interest in the position so far. Others include Adam Gardiner, Scott Miller, Melvin Nimer, Sterling Shoell, Andy Eatchel and Jeff Lund.