On a 4-0 vote, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday officially named Ellen McDonnell, who has been serving in the role on an interim basis since August, the county’s new public defender.
McDonnell has done the job since former public defender Robin Lipetzky announced her retirement.
“Ellen, I’d like to really welcome you and your outstanding resume, but even more importantly, the actions that precede this appointment today,” said District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover, who stepped in to run the meeting in for board chairperson Diane Burgis, who was absent.
McDonnell has worked in the Contra Costa office for 20 years, beginning as graduate law clerk and working her way up to chief assistant public defender for two years prior to taking over the top job temporarily in August. She has overseen a $36 million annual budget and a personnel roster of 145 employees.
McDonnell holds a Juris Doctor from University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Spanish and Italian from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. She has been a member of the California State Bar since 2001.
A video replay of the board’s meeting can be seen on the county website.