Cole was the mayor of Ember during the events of the first happenings described as fat and greedy. As the generator starts to decay and the people of the city grow more scared, he gives speeches to motivate the citizens, although these speeches are usually less effective, since he uses an apparently faulty megaphone, which makes his speech hard to understand. And these speeches are all false, because the mayor is the problem.

During the events of the first book, Lina Mayfleet first encounters the mayor on her first day as a messenger. After growing anxious while waiting to deliver a message to the mayor, Lina explores the building and soon finds herself on the roof, where she attracts much a attention. At this point, the guards come to take her away from the roof, and she is met by a mildly annoyed Mayor Cole, who soon dismisses her after hearing the message.