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John Falcicchio, Bowser’s top political adviser, departs from D.C. government

John Falcicchio. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)
3 min

John Falcicchio, a longtime political adviser for D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) who held key roles in her administration focused on economic strategy and development projects, is departing from city government, Bowser announced Friday.

Falcicchio’s departure was mentioned at the bottom of a news release detailing Bowser’s picks to fill the roles he previously held — chief of staff and deputy mayor for planning and economic development.

“We also thank Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio for his years of service to the District as he transitions to the private sector,” the release said, offering no other information.

Falcicchio did not return a phone call and text message seeking comment. A spokesperson for Bowser did not immediately respond to a request for additional details.

Bowser said in the release that Lindsey Parker, the city’s chief technology officer and assistant city administrator, will step into Falcicchio’s former role as chief of staff. The mayor also appointed Keith A. Anderson, director of D.C.'s general services department, to serve as the interim deputy mayor for planning and economic development.

Before joining Bowser’s administration in 2014, Falcicchio was a longtime aide to Bowser’s mentor, former D.C. mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D). In recent years he’s spearheaded initiatives around housing development and has also played a major role in the Bowser administration’s effort to gain control of the RFK Stadium site from the federal government as the Washington Commanders consider potential locations in the region for a new stadium.

Falcicchio’s departure comes as the city faces daunting fiscal challenges induced by the pandemic. As the mayor’s chief adviser on economic development, Falcicchio was overseeing her plan to revive downtown by encouraging developers to turn offices into apartment buildings.

Falcicchio’s breadth of responsibility was unmatched in D.C. government and made him unusual in the annals of mayoral appointees. As chief of staff since 2014, he was the mayor’s gatekeeper. As deputy mayor for planning and economic development, a role he was first appointed to on an interim basis in 2019, Falcicchio promoted projects across the city. Until recently, he was also the representative on the D.C. Housing Authority’s board of commissioners.

Beyond his governmental role, Falcicchio has been at the center of the city’s political wars over the past 16 years, first as an operative on Fenty’s “Green Team,” a campaign operation later inherited by Bowser that Fenty directed.

Falcicchio is the latest top official to leave Bowser’s administration in the past year. Other notable names include Chris Geldart, her former deputy mayor for public safety and justice, who left D.C. government in the fall after a personal trainer alleged that Geldart assaulted him outside an Arlington gym. LaQuandra Nesbitt, the city’s former health director, stepped down from her role in July.

The timing of Bowser’s announcement Friday appeared to catch many local officials off guard, including D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D), who said Friday afternoon that Falcicchio’s departure did not come up when he and Bowser spoke earlier in the day.

On Thursday, the mayor hosted her ninth annual “March Madness” event focused on upcoming development projects and resources for small businesses. It is a key event regularly led by the deputy mayor for planning and economic development. Falcicchio was not in attendance.

Steve Thompson contributed to this report.