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Multnomah County Official Resigns Following Affair With Commission Chair

OPB | July 24, 2013 12:56 p.m. | Updated: July 24, 2013 2:02 p.m. | Portland

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Multnomah County health official Sonia Manhas has resigned. The woman at the heart of an affair with the county’s top executive says she was forced out.

Sonia Manhas (OPB file photo)

Sonia Manhas (OPB file photo)

April Baer / OPB

In a message to other county employees, Manhas said she asked for a meeting about her status. She wrote, “I was notified that a meeting could not happen until I signed a letter of separation.”

Manhas  signed a letter of separation allowing her to use paid sick leave through the end of August. But she’s required to get a doctor’s note to justify it. In the letter, Manhas agrees not to sue the county.

Manhas apologized in her message to colleagues for distraction caused by her relationship with county chairman, Jeff Cogen. But she contested media portrayals. For instance, she wrote  “it is just not true” that she tried to undermine her boss Lillian Shirley’s authority.

She wrote that rather than wrongdoing, the many emails demonstrated “the incredible amount of work” invested in improving the county.

Cogen has said he does not plan to resign.

Click here to read about Multnomah County commissioners’ call for an investigation into whether Cogen violated personnel rules or led to the misuse of county funds as a result of the affair.


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