On January 7, 2020, the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors appointed Elizabeth Echols of Berkeley as the Director of Ward 1 to serve the remaining term left by incumbent Whitney Dotson, who retired in December after 11 years on the Park District Board. Ward 1 represents the communities of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Kensington, part of Pinole, Richmond and San Pablo. Regional Parks in Ward 1 include Brooks Island, Kennedy Grove, McLaughlin Eastshore, Miller/Knox, Point Isabel, Point Pinole, Sobrante Ridge, Tilden, and Wildcat Canyon.
Ms. Echols has had an extensive career in public service, with over 20 years in public policy roles. Most recently, she was appointed by former Governor Jerry Brown to serve as the Director of the independent Public Advocates Office at the California Public Utilities Commission. Her recent policy work has focused on environmental protection, climate change, and wildfire prevention and mitigation. Ms. Echols has a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Yale and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.
The Park District received 12 applications for the vacancy. An ad hoc board nominating committee interviewed all applicants and recommended four finalists to be considered for the vacant Ward 1 seat. On January 7, 2020, the Board of Directors interviewed the four finalists and voted unanimously (6-0) to appoint Ms. Echols.
"Each of the four finalists presented unique and compelling qualifications for the position,” said EBRPD Board President Ayn Wieskamp.
“Ultimately, Elizabeth’s impressive public policy career, environmental preservation experience, and dedication to supporting recreational and educational opportunities for underserved youth in her community made her the best candidate for the seat."
Ms. Echols will be sworn in at the January 21, 2020 regular meeting of the Board of Directors.
The East Bay Regional Park District is the largest regional park system in the nation, comprising 73 parks, 55 miles of shoreline, and 1,250 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and environmental education. The Park District receives more than 25 million visits annually throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties in the San Francisco Bay Area.