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Sonia Manhas resigns in wake of affair with County Chair Jeff Cogen

Sonia Manhas, who acknowledged a longrunning sexual relationship with Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen, resigned her position Wednesday as director of policy and planning for the county Health Department, effective Aug. 30.

Under a deal negotiated with the county, Manhas will be able to use paid sick leave from July 23 through Aug. 30, provided she submits a doctor’s note justifying use of sick leave.

She will be eligible for paid health insurance benefits through Sept. 30.

Manhas agreed not to sue the county and its elected officers and managers for claims relating to her employment and resignation.

Manhas also sent out an email letter to colleagues in the county, saying she is “deeply, deeply apologetic for the harm, disruption and distraction that my actions have caused to the good work that Multnomah County employees, particularly that Health Department employees, take on every day as public servants.”

Manhas wrote that she committed a “grave error” but said it wasn’t motivated by a desire for a better job or salary. “I let myself be led by my heart,” she said.

Cogen, who also is facing pressure to resign his post, is slated to chair the county commissioners’ meeting on Thursday morning, the first since the scandal broke last week.