ANC elects Jim Malec to chair governing body after former chair resigns from top post

Media Credit: Sage Russell | Assistant Photo Editor

Ed Comer, secretary of the Foggy Bottom and West End Neighborhood Commission, leads the vote count for Jim Malec's chair election during the governing body's special meeting Monday.

Updated: Tuesday, May 9, 2023, at 1:36 p.m.

Members of a local governing body elected a new chair in a special meeting Monday.

The Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission voted 8-0 to elect Jim Malec, the body’s former vice chair and commissioner for single-member district 2A02, as chair of ANC 2A. Malec, who represents the uppermost northwest quadrant of West End, assumed responsibilities of the governing body’s chair April 14 following former chair Joel Causey’s resignation after The Hatchet reported last month he is a registered sex offender in Florida.

Commissioners voted 6-2 in their regular meeting last month to delay the chair election to a special meeting because 2A09 Commissioner Evelyn Hudson could not join the April meeting virtually and cast her vote due to health complications. Hudson was absent in the special meeting Monday to elect a new chair.

“I want to thank you all for your support,” Malec said during the meeting. “It’s humbling. It’s a big responsibility, I’m going to do my best and try to make you guys proud.”

Causey, who represents the Northeast side of West End as the commissioner for SMD 2A06, announced he was resigning from the chair role to avoid being a “distraction” from the work of the ANC in an email last month to commissioners, Ward 2 D.C. Council member Brooke Pinto, and other community members but did not state he plans to leave the governing body. Causey was convicted in 1998 for “lewd and lascivious acts — sexual battery” involving a boy under 16 years old in Jacksonville, Florida between 1995 and 1996, according to Duval County, Florida court documents.

Causey has no criminal charges in the District, according to court records. He is not listed on D.C.’s sex offender registry.

In an email reply to Causey’s resignation announcement last month, Malec said he planned to back out of the chair position after a “smooth transition” because he believed he was next in line for the job as vice chair and would “directly benefit” from Causey stepping down, which he called for after The Hatchet reported about Causey’s criminal history.

Malec said in a statement to The Hatchet Monday that his prior intention to resign from the position was based on an incorrect assumption that he would directly succeed Causey’s position as chair prior to him stepping down. D.C. law does not state there is a direct line of succession between the vice chair and chair position, which means Malec never ascended to the position without being nominated and elected by commissioners.

2A03 Commissioner Trupti Patel, who nominated Malec to chair the ANC, said she has “full faith and trust” in Malec to execute the role of the chair. She said ANC leaders should be fair, stable, and allow for “dissenting opinions and personalities.”

“I think all of my colleagues should vote ‘yes’ for him, and I think the public needs to give him that support because this is important,” Patel said. “We have community business to attend to and members of the D.C. Council are waiting for us to elect leadership that they know they can rely on and depend on to get things done.”

Malec has served on ANC2A since January 2023 after running unopposed for the 2A02 seat in November ANC elections. Causey, who previously represented 2A02 for one term, ran as a write-in candidate for 2A06 during the elections because city officials redrew ANC SMD boundaries in June.

Malec said he would prioritize ANC oversight of landscaping renovations for Francis Field Park and expanding community members’ access to GW Foggy Bottom Campus buildings like Lerner Health and Wellness Center and Gelman Library during his campaign leading up to the November ANC elections. Commissioners voted to grant 250 community members permanent access to Lerner last month, and University officials reinstated the Friends of GW program in February after a three-year pandemic hiatus, which enabled Foggy Bottom residents and neighbors of the Mount Vernon Campus to use GW amenities like campus meeting spaces, Gelman and Eckles libraries, and the Mount Vernon Express.

“I’m going to be reaching out to each of you over the coming days to have a conversation about how we can move forward and focus on all of your priorities and do good things,” Malec said.

ANC2A will meet for their next regular monthly meeting on May 17 at 7 p.m. in the West End Neighborhood Library and via Zoom.

Grace Chinowsky contributed reporting.

This post has been updated to reflect the following:

This post has been updated to clarify that Malec’s prior intention to resign from the chair position was based on an incorrect assumption that he would succeed Causey’s position after he stepped down. Malec never ascended to the role without being nominated and elected because there is no direct line of succession between the vice chair and chair positions.

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