John Falcicchio
John Falcicchio, deputy mayor for planning and economic development and Mayor Muriel Bowser's chief of staff, speaks at an event at the Howard Theatre. Credit: Alex Koma

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John Falcicchio, one of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s closest political advisers and top deputies, is heading to the private sector. 

The mayor’s chief of staff and deputy mayor for Planning and Economic Development is leaving government, but his destination is unclear. Bowser’s office announced his departure in a release Friday afternoon, but did not provide details on the circumstances. Lindsey Parker, Bowser’s assistant city administrator and chief technology officer, will take over as chief of staff, while Keith Anderson, head of the Department of General Services, will head DMPED on an interim basis. 

Loose Lips has generally heard shock from members of Bowser’s Green Team at news of Falcicchio’s departure, particularly given the timing of the Friday afternoon announcement (not to mention the lack of details from the mayor herself). Falcicchio did not immediately reply to a text seeking comment.

Falcicchio’s involvement in D.C. government dates back to the days of Bowser’s mentor, Adrian Fenty, where he earned the nickname “Johnny Business” for his close ties to D.C.’s private sector (Falcicchio has said he gave himself the nickname after some friends teased him for working on a Saturday night). He came to play a leading role in Bowser’s robust electoral success in 2014, 2018, and 2022, contributing to his appointment as DMPED in 2019. 

While leading the department, he made Bowser’s housing goals a priority and built a close relationship with developers. He also served as a member of the D.C. Housing Authority’s governing board, even as that relationship generated questions about conflicts of interest

The move not only leaves Bowser without a DMPED since Brian Kenner departed for a role at Amazon, but also without a chief of staff for the first time in her tenure as mayor. Falcicchio had served in the role since Bowser’s 2015 inauguration, after also serving as her transition director. 

The move also comes as Congress is taking a closer look into D.C.’s affairs with the recent nullification of the criminal code revisions and some House Republicans proposing another resolution to roll back police reform legislation (though Bowser has opposed both of those bills). The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is also more closely scrutinizing the housing authority in the form of a damning audit that found failures in just about every aspect of DCHA’s work.

“We also thank Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio for his years of service to the District as he transitions to the private sector,” Bowser’s office said in a press statement, which was the only reference to Falcicchio’s departure Friday.