Watching the saga of Gary Ott unfold has been truly bizarre. From the uncertainty as to where he lives to the soap opera of who he is or isn’t in a relationship with to the rather incoherent responses to the few public interviews he’ll grant, it feels like I’m watching an episode of Parks and Recreation rather than reading the news. Unfortunately, this isn’t an excellent scripted comedy and running the Recorder’s office isn’t some trivial task. It requires someone who is in full control of their faculties. It requires someone who can do better than stumble through questions presented by the County Council at an audit hearing. It requires that Gary Ott resign as Recorder for the good of the office.
As I pointed out years ago, resigning is not admitting any sort of wrongdoing. Nancy Workman resigned despite being found not guilty of all charges against her. She had the moral turpitude to say that a functioning government office was more important than her name on the door of said office. She recognized that serious controversy impaired that operation. Rather than hold on to fulfill her ego, she decided to take a higher route, something that should be commended.
Let’s get right to the meat of the matter: this isn’t something that is going away and it has gone on for far too long. The first big bombshell landed way back in March, over seven months ago. Just last week, he couldn’t answer basic questions such as where he lived. While Deputy Recorder Julie Dole seems to be effectively running the office, that’s not who voters chose to run things until 2020, the end of Ott’s current term. As long as the cloud hangs over the office, it will be impaired from doing its job.
Maybe Gary is just fine and has had some bad days. Even if that’s the case, there’s way too much doubt swirling around for him to stay in the Recorder’s office and still have it running in tip-top shape. It’s time for Gary Ott to resign and let someone without the baggage take the helm.