The chief of staff for Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has resigned — effective Monday, Jan. 7.
Michael Cox gave no reason for his resignation in a brief email to the mayor submitted on Jan. 4.
"Thank you for the opportunity to serve," he wrote, according to a public records request made by the Portland Tribune.
Political observers will surely suspect the timing of Cox's announcement, which comes about two weeks after news of his City Hall affair was publicly aired.
At the time, officials claimed that Cox's relationship with Legislative Director Michelle Plambeck did not flout rules prohibiting romantic relationships between a supervisor and a subordinate employee.
Cox joined the mayor's team in 2014, serving as a spokesman for Wheeler during his term as state treasurer. Cox then managed Wheeler's successful campaign for mayor in 2015 and 2016.
He moved into the top spot in July, 2017 after Wheeler's former chief of staff, Maurice Henderson, left for a job as TriMet's chief operating officer.
In a short statement announcing the resignation, Wheeler thanked Cox for his years of service.
"I've known him for many years," Wheeler said. "He is not only a trusted and loyal advisor but also a friend. Michael cares deeply about the progress and the future of the city."
Wheeler said his deputy chief of staff, Kristin Dennis, will become the interim chief of staff.
Cox has also worked in communications for the Oregon House Democratic Caucus, SEIU California, and Cover Oregon. His immediate next steps remain unclear.
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