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El Cerrito Attorney Named to State Post

Matthew Maclear may be better known to some in the community as coach.

Gov. Jerry Brown has tapped an El Cerrito attorney to join the enforcement team at the state Environmental Protection Agency, or Cal/EPA.

As statewide environmental circuit prosecutor at the California District Attorneys Association, Matthew Maclear, 39, has been handling environmental cases in rural areas involving more than one jurisdiction – a job that sometimes requires him to work in concert with urban prosecutors.

Maclear hasn’t met the governor who appointed him, but has worked in his office when he was California Attorney General Brown.

Maclear’s resume includes a complaint against Chevron that charged the corporation with mishandling underground storage and hazardous waste. The company made the necessary changes and the case was resolved in 2011.

Many El Cerritans might not recognize Maclear in the courtroom, but would spot him poolside with ease as head coach of the East Bay Masters water polo team, which meets at the El Cerrito Community Center.

The Cal alumnus also plays a lead role in the California Champions Club, which supports the Cal men’s water polo team. Among other things, he develops mentoring relationships between students and pros.

How does he make time? The question draws a chuckle and a one-word answer: “Strategically.”

Maclear lives in El Cerrito with his wife Amy, a business and commercial lawyer with the firm of Gordon and Rees, and their three young children. He has no plans to move his family to the state capitol.

“I love it here,” he said. “It’s uniquely situated between the city and Sacramento, and I love the community.”

So while much will remain the same, the nature of his work will change. He will leave the courtroom to craft “smarter and more effective” enforcement mechanisms for Cal/EPA. 

“I will miss litigating, I will miss trying cases, I will miss working with my fellow prosecutors,” he said. “It’s a big step for me to take off the white hat.”

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