Commissioners expected to call today for Cogen's resignation

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by Evan Sernoffsky, kgw.com staff

NWCN.com

Posted on July 25, 2013 at 8:32 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 4:04 AM

PORTLAND – Multnomah County Commissioners will hold a unanimous consent agenda Thursday at 9:30 a.m. on whether to call for the immediate resignation of county Chair Jeff Cogen.

After consulting a county attorney, commissioner Judy Shiprack along with at least two other commissioners called for the resolution.

On Wednesday evening, KGW spoke with Sonia Manhas who said she thinks Cogen should resign.

“It’s time for Jeff to resign. I don’t think it’s appropriate for a man and a woman in the same situation to be held to a different standard," she said. “Both Jeff and I need to step aside so Multnomah County can get back to its important work on behalf of the community.”

Read: Commissioners resolution for Cogen's resignation

Commissioners would need unanimous consent in order to call for Cogen's resignation. However, even if commissioners vote to recommend his resignation, it will have no legal backing and serve only as a formality.

County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury told KGW Wednesday that she also supports Cogen's resignation.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Oregon Attorney General confirmed it will immediately begin investigating Cogen.  The investigation came at the request of the Multnomah County District Attorney and Sheriff's Office, following news of Cogen's affair with a subordinate.

"Given the attention this issue has received in Multnomah County, the district attorney and the sheriff want to ensure that the matter receives a fair and impartial viewing,” Multnomah County Spokesman David Austin said.

The news of the investigation came only hours after Manhas resigned from her position as the county health department’s policy and planning director.

Cogen has been at work all week and said he has no plans to resign from his position with the county.

More: Sonia Manhas resigns following affair with Mult. Co. Chair Jeff Cogen

In a letter sent to Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum Wednesday, Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill and Sheriff Daniel Staton requested the criminal investigation.

Read: Rod Underhill’s letter to Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum

“As presented to the public the facts could lead some to question whether any Oregon criminal laws have been violated. Without expressing any opinion as to whether any criminal laws have been violated or not, we have concluded that an investigation to answer that question is warranted,” the letter says.

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