Former DC Deputy Mayor Defends Having Home in Virginia: ‘I’m Geo-Single’
Chris Geldart, who resigned as DC’s deputy mayor for public safety and justice on Wednesday, said he was “single geo— a term used in military circles to describe an arrangement where service members live apart from their families, often with other service members. Geldart, a former Marine, said he stayed part-time with his family in Falls Church, Virginia, and part-time with a friend and former colleague in Washington.
“I’ve had nights on the town when I needed to, and I’ve had nights at home,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post. ” That’s what I did. I am geo single.
Geldart went on leave earlier this month after a personal trainer publicly accused the then deputy mayor of grabbing him by the neck in a parking lot of a Gold’s Gym in Arlington, Va. DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) initially played down the incident. – saying in a statement that “it sounds like something that happens to a lot of people”. But his tone changed a few days later as reporters asked about a police statement indicating Geldart’s residence was in Virginia.
In the interview with The Post, Geldart said that he was “embarrassed” by his behavior outside Gold’s Gym but declined to discuss the matter due to the pending criminal charge. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for Monday in the case. Geldart also declined to discuss conversations he had with city officials prior to his resignation.
Below CC code, high-level executive appointees must be residents of the city within 180 days of their appointment and remain so during their term of office. The police statement on the assault allegation said Geldart lived in Falls Church.
Chris Geldart, DC’s top public safety official, out of a job after assault complaint
The chorus of reporters asking about Geldart’s residence in the district intensified with each day following the assault accusation, and on Oct. 6, DC Council member Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) was among those who had questions.
That afternoon, she sent a request for information about it to E. Lindsey Maxwell II, acting director of the city’s human resources department, asking questions such as how authorities determine the ” real place of residence” of an employee, if a worker has houses. inside and outside the District. Silverman’s office said it did not receive a response to questions Friday evening.
As chair of the council’s labor committee, Silverman said she has pushed in recent years to increase the number of people on the city’s workforce who are DC residents — particularly employees of DC Police and Fire and EMS – because living in the city helps integrate city employees with the communities they serve.
“Geldart oversaw public safety agencies, like DC police, fire and EMS. We want these responders to live in the city, and we struggled with that,” Silverman said. “If we have the deputy mayor in Falls Church, it sends the message that residence is not important. And I don’t think that’s the message we want to send.
Bowser announced at a press conference that she had accepted Geldart’s resignation on Wednesday, saying “every issue raised distracts from her work and mine.” She said at the press conference that she knew Geldart had a home in Virginia, where her family lived, but expected her cabinet members to be “bona fide” residents of the city.
Asked Friday night if Geldart had disclosed the geosingle arrangement — and whether he met the spirit of the residency requirement — Bowser’s office said it had no further comment.
Geldart said his family first rented a home in Falls Church in 2017 after he resigned as head of DC’s Homeland Security Agency amid allegations from an inspector general, including that he had used the office for the benefit of a “close personal acquaintance.” The city ethics committee ultimately found insufficient evidence to establish that a violation had occurred.
When he returned to city leadership two years later — first as director of the Department of Public Works before being hired as deputy mayor — Geldart said he was about halfway through. -way to a lease in Virginia. He said he and his wife decided to keep the house to avoid breaking the lease. Geldart said he chose to rent an apartment along the Capitol Riverfront with his friend, a former staff member who frequently traveled to the West Coast for work and had a spare room.
Geldart said he paid part of the rent – although he declined to say how much – and charges for the apartment, as well as tourist taxes. He also said he had submitted all required paperwork for residency and repeatedly told co-workers that he needed to pick up his children and take them to the church in Falls.
“I will say there are times when I spend a lot more time in the apartment than other times,” the former deputy mayor said. “But I had the apartment. I paid the taxes. I did the utilities. I paid my rent. I did everything I was supposed to do.
Geldart said his wife re-signed the lease in mid-2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, he said, his wife was living with her children on the West Coast due to work demands and closeness to relatives. Geldart said he was in DC that year — spending most nights in the city apartment — working long days to help lead the city’s response to the pandemic.
His family’s last tenure in Falls Church ended in April. He said they have been renting the house on a monthly basis since then, looking to move to a permanent home in the district.
Some city council members said they were sympathetic to his family obligations. But they weren’t swayed by his claim for a geo bachelor arrangement.
“From a residency standpoint, whether it’s this government official or any other, you’re expected to reside in the District of Columbia,” said Charles Allen (D -Ward 6), member of the DC Council, chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary and the Public. Security. “The spirit and intent of the law and the requirement is that this is your primary residence. It’s where you live.
“It’s 20 minutes away,” Silverman said of Falls Church. “It’s hard to believe you’re not just going to hop on Route 66 and go home every night. This is not a second home in Rehoboth Beach where you spend a few summer weekends.”
Now that Geldart is out of work, it’s unclear whether he will move permanently to the nation’s capital.
“We are now assessing what the next steps are for our family,” he said in a statement.