EBMUD Board appoints new General Counsel

OAKLAND – The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) Board of Directors has appointed Derek T. McDonald as the District’s General Counsel, effective July 5, 2021. McDonald replaces Craig Spencer, who is retiring after more than 25 years at EBMUD.

McDonald has been with EBMUD’s Office of General Counsel for 15 years, having first been appointed as an Attorney I in 2007. He has extensive experience in public agency law, including construction, public bidding and procurement, real estate, water rights, tort and contract litigation, the Public Records Act, and the Brown Act. McDonald has worked on many significant cases and issues at the District, including spearheading the defense of EBMUD’s water rights in litigation, negotiating a real estate agreement for a nonprofit community hub on EBMUD land and developing a comprehensive succession plan for the Board of Directors to ensure governance continues smoothly in the event of a natural disaster.

In his new role, McDonald will oversee an internal team of fifteen attorneys and staff involved in water rights and environmental policy, litigation, land use, governance, contracting, and other matters. Prior to his work at EBMUD, McDonald was a legal research attorney at the San Francisco County Superior Court.

McDonald’s appointment follows a broad and thorough national recruitment process.

Craig Spencer has served as General Counsel since 2015. Spencer was first appointed EBMUD’s Chief Trial Attorney in 1995 and later served as Assistant General Counsel. In his career at EBMUD, Spencer represented the District in numerous important litigation matters and directed the District’s efforts to secure a long-term extension of its water rights permit.

Derek McDonald Biography:

Derek McDonald has a strong record of success and innovation litigating on behalf of EBMUD and collaborates with internal stakeholders and with legal and executive epresentatives from local, state and federal government entities. He has been an attorney in EBMUD’s Office of General Counsel for 15 years. Prior to his work with EBMUD he was a court research attorney and clerked for a law firm and a public defender’s office. McDonald also worked with local and international nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations in the areas of youth development, environmental restoration, international elections and human rights advocacy. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of San Francisco School of Law (Juris Doctor) and Magna Cum Laude from Boston College (Bachelor of Arts, Sociology). He has been a member of the State Bar of California since December 2005. McDonald is a Bay Area native and has been a resident of Oakland for over 20 years.


The East Bay Municipal Utility District has a proud history of providing high-quality drinking water for 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. EBMUD’s wastewater system serves 740,000 customers and helps protect the ecosystem of San Francisco Bay. EBMUD is a not-for-profit public agency established in 1923.

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