Elizabeth Echols of Berkeley has been selected from among four finalists to fill the remaining term for East Bay Regional Park District Ward 1.
Former position holder Whitney Dotson, who stepped down a month ago, died last week, according to friends, who posted an announcement of his passing from Robert Doyle, park district general manager.
Dotson, a resident of Parchester Village in Richmond who long advocated for environmental protection and community access to open space, served 11 years on the district board before retiring in December.
Echols has a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from Yale and a juris doctor from Stanford Law School.
Her career in public service includes more than 20 years in public policy roles, according to the district. Most recently, she was appointed by former Gov. Jerry Brown to serve as the Director of the independent Public Advocates Office at the California Public Utilities Commission.
Recent policy work by Echols has focused on environmental protection, climate change, and wildfire prevention and mitigation.
She was one of 12 applicants for the vacant Ward 1 seat, which includes 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.
Applicants were narrowed down to four finalists who were interviewed before Echols was unanimously selected.
"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."
Echols is scheduled to be sworn in when the district board meets in Oakland next Tuesday (Jan. 21).