Evans, the council’s longest-serving member, will step down Jan. 17, days before his colleagues were set to expel him for using his office to benefit clients that were paying him for consulting services and for failing to disclose those clients. His decision to resign became public Tuesday, moments before a scheduled council hearing at which he would have had a chance to defend himself.
“Obviously very sad that a public servant who dedicated his career to improving the District made some very significant mistakes,” Bowser said Wednesday, in her first comments to reporters on the resignation. “He’s reaping those consequences now, but I think like most people, I am ready to turn the page and focus on the business of the District of Columbia.”
Bowser said she did not speak to Evans before his resignation announcement.
Elections officials on Wednesday scheduled a June 16 special election to fill the Ward 2 seat for the rest of his term, which runs through the end of this year. Six candidates are competing in the June 2 Democratic primary for the term representing Ward 2 that begins in January. The filing deadline for the nominating contest is in March.
The departure of Evans will be a loss for the council’s more moderate, business-friendly wing. It also leaves Bowser with one fewer dependable vote on the council after three of her supporters were defeated in 2016.
While Evans was being investigated, Bowser called on the council to ban outside employment. The only other council member who holds an additional job is law professor Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), a frequent Bowser critic.
Bowser spoke Wednesday at a news conference about a development project in Anacostia. Asked if she was concerned about losing an ally in Evans, she described other council members as opposing economic development efforts. She declined to identify those lawmakers by name.
“Businesses, homegrown businesses and [certified business enterprises] are competent, capable and should not be distrusted at every turn,” Bowser said. “That is my concern. Every member of the council has a responsibility for every part of the District of Columbia.”
Bowser cited opposition to tax abatements and tax increment financing, a tool to encourage developers to invest in blighted areas with the promise of receiving future tax revenue from higher property values. Critics say the terms can sometimes be overly generous to developers and risk exacerbating gentrification.
Evans had chaired the committee that reviewed tax abatement and tax increment financing legislation, frequently siding with the mayor’s administration in support of projects.
He lost the position in July, when the council began investigating his conduct.
Evans still holds an elected leadership post in the D.C. Democratic Party, which would allow him to represent the city at the Democratic National Convention this summer. Charles Wilson, the party chairman, on Wednesday renewed his call for Evans to resign that position.