Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen told his fellow commissioners Thursday morning that he will not resign from his position.
Cogen previously acknowledged an affair with county employee Sonia Manhas who says she was forced to resign over the controversy.
A vote calling for Cogen to resign failed for procedural reasons. The commission’s resolution required unanimous approval, and Cogen voted “no,” though his fellow commissioners all said they would like him to resign.
Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen
Cogen said he supports a state investigation into whether he abused his power or otherwise behaved inappropriately.
“I believe the investigation will not find any abuse of power,” he said. “But in any case, why call for an investigation without allowing it to begin?”
“I deserve a chance for the facts to come out,” Cogen added.
Some comments from Thursday morning’s meeting:
Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, who said she would like Cogen to resign:“It saddens me deeply to be in this position. … This has obviously been a huge distraction in the public’s eye and it needs ot end.”
Commissioner Loretta Smith also asked Cogen to resign: “Today represents a very difficult day for this board. none of us could ever predict this would be happening today. To say the least i am disappointed. … I am angry on so many levels. … The people of Multnomah County not only need, but they deserve to have, a policy and program-management group that works in a coordinated manner .They need a group that is founded on basic principles of good governance … Our constituents do not deserve, nor are they requesting a board that is fractured, non-responsive. That unfortunately is where we find ourselves now. … I must respectfully ask that our chair resign.”
Commission Chair Cogen: “I made mistakes. Big ones. my affair has caused — I have caused — tremendous pain. I have let a lot of people down, espeiclaly my wife Lisa and my family and my loved ones, but also Sonia Manhas and her family, my staff, colleagues and all of the Multnomah County residents who entrusted me with this important work. … I understand why people are upset. i understand why my colleagues are upset. I don’t understand the rush to judgment. i am here because I care about the work of the county. … I’ve asked my colelagues to let the investigation you’ve called for reach its conclusion”