September 25th, 2013 9:52 am | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: Politics, Multnomah County

Multnomah County Health Director Takes Over State's Public Health Division

Lillian Shirley promoted from scandal-plagued post

lede_3939(shirley)Lillian Shirley

Multnomah County Health Director Lillian Shirley, who has been in the news more than she would have wanted to be in the past six months, is taking over as director of the state's Public Health Division.

Here's the announcement from her new boss, Dr. Bruce Goldberg, the director of the Oregon Health Authority:

"Lillian has been a local and a national leader in advancing public health. She has lead the Multnomah County Health Department and the National Association of City and County Health Officials, and currently serves as the organizations Immediate Past President," Goldberg wrote in an email this morning.

Before coming to Oregon, Lillian was the Director of Public Health for the city of Boston and was also the first executive director of the Boston Health Commission, where she lead the agency through the establishment, design and organization of the new public health authority in Boston.

Lillian has also been a leader in Oregon’s effort to transform our state’s health care system. In her current role as Director of the Multnomah County Health Department and on the governing board of Health Share of Oregon, she helped launch one of the first coordinated care organizations. She also is the vice-chair of the Oregon Health Policy Board, and she played a vital role in the state’s move towards a health care system that works better for us all.

For all these reasons and more, Lillian is the right person to be leading the Public Health Division as we move into the next phase of our work to improve the health our population."

Back in May, Shirley, who directed the county's largest department with about 1,000 employees and earns $175,284, got arrested on a domestic violence charge after biting her husband in a wine-fueled rage. Portland police described a bite on her husband's calf that was still bleeding when she arrived and another between his shoulder blades that was "not as bad as the calf but still broke the skin with both the upper and lower set of teeth." Despite the evidence, charges were dropped.

Then in July, Shirley again inadvertently became news, this time when emails between one of her subordinates, Sonia Manhas, and Shirley's boss, then-county Chairman Jeff Cogen emerged from public records requests relating to an affair between Cogen and Manhas. In those emails, Manhas went around Shirley to plot strategy and policy directly with Cogen.

Now, Cogen and Manhas have resigned and Shirley is moving up.

Her salary in the new job, which she starts Dec. 1, is $177,838.
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