Multnomah County Chief Operating Officer Jana McLellan—the only top Ted Wheeler staffer who stayed on when Jeff Cogen took over as chair last year—has apparently decided to step down.

The move, announced in an email to senior county managers yesterday, has prompted a chain reaction of personnel moves—with the county's director of human services, Joanne Fuller, emerging as a possible successor by agreeing to step into McLellan's job on an interim basis. The Mercury obtained a copy of the email this afternoon.

McLellan served as interim chair immediately after Wheeler was named state treasurer, and returned to the COO job after Cogen was installed, presumably to help his office navigate budget season. She previously had worked as deputy COO, and has endured her share of minor controversy. Her departure comes just before the start of another budget season.

Cogen's office declined to comment beyond the contents of the email, citing personnel issues.

From: Jeff Cogen
Date: Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Changes at Multnomah County
To: #DRM

I wanted to let you know that after helping my office through a transition period over the last eight months, Chief Operating Officer Jana McLellan has decided to step down from her position with Multnomah County to pursue other interests.

I have asked Joanne Fuller, the director of DCHS, to fill the chief operating officer position on an interim basis and she has accepted. Joanne will start in her new capacity right away. Kathy Tinkle, the DCHS budget manager, will step in as interim DCHS director. Jana will continue to work with with my office through February as she hands off budgetary, Coraggio and other duties.

Jana has a long history with Multnomah County, working in human services, as former Chair Ted Wheeler's chief operating officer and for a brief time as interim Chair. I appreciate her service to the county, its employees and the public. Please join me in wishing Jana well in her future endeavors. Feel free to pass this message along to your staff. Thanks.