Eden board chooses former El Cerrito mayor as CEO over Ellen Corbett

The Eden Health District Board of Director’s search for a new full-time chief executive officer came down to two candidates well versed in East Bay politics. The board unanimously chose to offer a contract to Mark Friedman, a former El Cerrito mayor and long-time aide to former Alameda County supervisor and state senate leader Don Perata.

Alameda County beatIn selecting Friedman, the board passed on a competing bid by Ellen Corbett, a former state senate majority leader and current elected member of the East Bay Regional Parks District Board of Directors.

Both finalists attended Wednesday evening’s Eden Health District board meeting prior to the directors making their decision in closed session.

Friedman accepted the board’s offer, but the details of the proposed contract is still being negotiated, said Charles Gilcrest, a member of the Eden Health District Board of Directors. The board is expected to approve the contract at its next meeting on Mar. 18.

Friedman Mark
Mark Friedman

The CEO position was left open when the contract of Michael Mahoney, the Eden Health District’s prior CEO, was not renewed last November. Mahoney’s contract expired last July, and he had been working on a month-to-month contract since.

In a separate move on Wednesday, the board voted to extend the interim contract of Dev Mahadevan to Mar. 18 in order to coincide with the arrival of Friedman as CEO. Mahadevan, who retired as Eden Health District CEO in 2017, was due to leave the interim post on Feb. 29.

Friedman previous served on the El Cerrito City Council earlier this decade, and also as mayor. (El Cerrito does not directly elect its mayors. The position is rotated among councilmembers.)

Friedman was the CEO of First 5 Alameda County for 15 years through 2014. During Perata’s stint on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, Friedman served as chief of staff, and later for Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan’s first go-around on the board.

Last month, Friedman was a finalist for the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors’ appointment for county clerk-recorder. The Contra Costa supervisors, instead, decided to appoint the acting clerk-recorder. Former East Bay Assemblymember Catharine Baker was also a finalist for the job.

Similarly, Corbett has been job-hunting in recent years. She applied two years ago to become Chabot-Las Positas College chancellor. The position remains unoccupied with a permanent replacement. Corbett’s first term on the East Bay Regional Parks District is due to end this November.

The Eden Health District’s directors also received news that an appointment to their own ranks will be required over the next 90 days. Board Director Megan Lynch resigned on Thursday. Her seat is up for re-election in November. No process for replacing her on the board has been announced.

Lynch’s departure is not a surprise. She recently stated during a board meeting that she would likely leave the board at some point this year.