Ellen McDonnell officially named as CoCo public defender

Built in the Bay

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(CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif.) The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors appointed Ellen McDonnel as the county's next public defender after she had been serving in an interim role since August.

The county Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 on Tuesday to confirm her appointment. McDonnel has been serving as the county's public defender since August when Robin Lipetzky retired.

"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.

Board Chair Diane Burgis was absent Tuesday to attend to a family matter.

McDonnell began in Contra Costa County 20 years ago as a graduate law clerk. She eventually worked her way up to chief assistant public defender for two years before taking the role of interim public defender in August. McDonnell has already overseen a $36 million annual budget and a personnel roster of 145 employees.

McDonnell comes to the county position with an impressive pedigree. She graduated with a law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law after receiving a bachelor's degree with a double major in Spanish and Italian from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. She has been a licensed member of the California State Bar since 2001.

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