Board Members

The board has three members, appointed by the Governor, and confirmed by the state Senate for staggered six-year terms. One of the three must be a lawyer.

Michelle Gonzalez, Chair

Michelle Gonzalez was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee in 2020 to serve on the Pollution Control and Shorelines Hearings Boards. She was reappointed by Governor Inslee in 2022. Before joining the boards, Ms. Gonzalez directed the Women’s Commission, an agency in the Governor’s Office. She also served as assistant dean at the University of Washington School of Law and as a senior lecturer in the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, where she has taught courses on administrative law and mediation and negotiation. Ms. Gonzalez has worked in the private and public sectors as an attorney and clerked for a federal magistrate judge in the Western District of Washington.

Ms. Gonzalez earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. She is a volunteer board member of Heritage University in the Yakima Valley, which serves students from the local area. She enjoys mentoring students, and she started an externship program for law students with the agency. She speaks conversational Spanish and enjoys opportunities to practice. ​​​​​​

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Christopher Swanson

Christopher Swanson was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee in 2023 to serve on the Pollution Control and Shorelines Hearings Boards. Before his appointment, he served as an assistant chief industrial appeals judge with the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals (BIIA) and worked as a mediation and review judge and a hearings judge with the BIIA, a health law judge with the Washington state Department of Health, and an assistant attorney general serving in the Utilities and Transportation and Agriculture and Health divisions. In all, he has worked in administrative law for twenty-three years and served as an administrative adjudicator for fifteen years.

Mr. Swanson graduated magna cum laude from California State University, Chico, with a bachelor of arts in political science and received his law degree from Willamette University College of Law.

In his spare time, Mr. Swanson enjoys hiking and cycling especially in the Mount Rainier area as well as international travel.

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Administrative Appeals Judges

Barbara Ehrlichman

Ms. Ehrlichman joined ELUHO in May of 2024.  Prior to joining the office, she was a municipal lawyer in local government, with an emphasis in land use and environmental law.  Ms. Ehrlichman was lead of the land use division in the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and was later appointed chief civil deputy (1996-2007).  She was a full-time quasi-judicial hearing examiner for Snohomish County (2007-2010) and later for the City of Seattle (2018-2000); she has served as a part-time hearing examiner for the City of Bellevue since 2017.  During the period 2010 – 2018, Ms. Ehrlichman was an attorney in private practice representing a wide variety of clients, including municipalities, federally recognized Indian Tribes, landowners, farmers, business owners, and citizen groups, with an emphasis in land use and environmental law.  More recently, Ms. Ehrlichman served as chief civil deputy prosecuting attorney for Island County and as civil deputy prosecutor for Jefferson County (2019 – 2024). 

Ms. Ehrlichman graduated cum laude from University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, and received her undergraduate degree from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.   After law school, she clerked in the Alaska state courts in Anchorage, Alaska and the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division One in Seattle.

Picture of Barbara with brunette hair, black framed glasses smiling at the camera

Andrew O'Connell

Andrew O’Connell joined ELUHO as an administrative appeals judge in 2023. Before joining the office, Mr. O’Connell was an administrative law judge for the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC), presiding over adjudications involving rates, mergers and acquisitions, and practices of investor-owned utilities in Washington such as Puget Sound Energy, Avista Corporation, and Waste Management of Washington. Before that, he worked for the Washington State Attorney General’s Office as an assistant attorney general, representing the staff of the UTC in various proceedings, including rulemakings and rate cases, while also providing more general legal advice to the UTC.

Mr. O’Connell earned a Master of Laws degree with distinction in climate change and energy law and policy from the University of Dundee’s Centre for Energy, Petroleum, and Mineral Law and Policy. His graduate dissertation on cap and trade was published by the Texas Environmental Law Journal. He graduated magna cum laude with a Juris Doctorate from Gonzaga University School of Law while, at different times, serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the Gonzaga Law Review, competing in the National Appellate Advocacy Competition, working in Gonzaga’s Indian Law Clinic, and externing for Judge Robert T. Dawson at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. Prior to that, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history from Washington University in St. Louis.

Gabe Verdugo

Gabe Verdugo is an administrative appeals judge with ELUHO. Before joining the office, Mr. Verdugo was in private practice litigating consumer class actions and insurance cases. He also previously served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Rosanna M. Peterson at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington and for Justice Steven C. González at the Washington Supreme Court. Mr. Verdugo graduated from the University of Washington with bachelor's degrees in plant biology and German language and literature. He earned his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law.

Gabe Verdugo photo

Neil Wise

Neil graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor’s in Wildlife Science and then was employed by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife for nine years before entering law school at University of Oregon.  After law school, Neil spent some time in the Republic of Palau, drafting environmental statutes and regulations, and then worked 26 years for the Washington Attorney General’s office, representing the Washington Departments of Fish & Wildlife and Natural Resources and the Forest Practices Board.  In 2018, Neil was appointed to a PCHB/SHB Board member position in the Environmental and Land Use Hearings Office (ELUHO).  Neil retired in 2023, but returned to ELUHO as an Administrative Appeals Judge in June of 2024.

Neil has been married since 1976. Neil and his wife enjoy hiking, horseback riding, traveling, and reading fantasy/science fiction and spy thriller novels.



Apply to Serve on the Board

Visit the Governor’s Web site to find information about how to apply to serve on this board.