Multiple personal issues plague Mult. Co. Health Dept.

Multiple personal issues plague Mult. Co. Health Dept.

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by KGW Reporter Reggie Aqui and KGW.com Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @reggieaqui

kgw.com

Posted on July 26, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Updated Friday, Jul 26 at 12:36 PM

PORTLAND -- The director of the Multnomah County Health Department says one of her own personal issues has been affecting her employees' response to the affair between county chair Jeff Cogen and policy and planning director Sonia Manhas.

“I am fully aware that my personal issues have influenced your feelings around these events," director Lillian Shirley told her staff in an email obtained by KGW. "All I can pledge to you is that there will be frank discussions and shared strategies for the future.”

Shirley was referring to an incident in May, in which she was arrested for domestic violence, a Multnomah County spokesperson said.

Police said Shirley got into a physical fight with her husband after he revealed he wanted a divorce. Shirley told police her husband was seeing another woman. After the arrest, Shirley’s husband declined to press charges.

A couple of months later Sonia Manhas, one of Shirley’s employees, was forced to resign when news of her affair with Cogen came to light.

In addition to addressing the effect her personal issues have had on her employees, the health department director said she would clear her calendar and begin meeting with her staff on Monday to start repairing “fractures" within the organization.

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