The D.C. Council voted to confirm Salah Czapary as the director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture, a position frequently dubbed the “night mayor.”
A former police officer and candidate for the Ward 1 seat, Czapary has served as acting director of the agency since November, after being appointed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a political and ideological ally who, like Czapary, leans to the more conservative flank of the Democratic Party.
According to the office’s website, the office serves as an intermediary between nightlife establishments, residents, and D.C. government, with the aim of promoting “a safe, economically and culturally vibrant night time economy.”
Czapary was recommended for the position due, in part, to his work leading community outreach initiatives when he served as Special Assistant to the Chief of Police at the Metropolitan Police Department.
In his new role, he is expected to outreach to business owners and employees in the nightlife industry, provide assistance to bars, clubs, and restaurants, and gather feedback on how the city can better support such businesses.
The job also involves coordination between public safety personnel and the owners and employees of nightlife venues.
The Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to approve Czapary’s nomination, following a confirmation hearing earlier this month, during which more than a dozen people testified in support of him, while only one person — representing a liberal-leaning church concerned with social justice issues — testified against his nomination, with much of that opposition focusing on his former position as a member of law enforcement.
“Thank you to @councilofdc for the unanimous vote of confidence today,” Czapary tweeted. “I am overjoyed to continue serving the city we all love. Together, we will build bridges to strengthen our community & our nightlife, hospitality, resturant (sic), cultural and musical industries.”
Thank you to @councilofdc for the unanimous vote of confidence today.
I am overjoyed to continue serving the city we all love.
Together, we will build bridges to strengthen our community & our nightlife, hospitality, resturant, cultural and musical industries.#DCisopen🎆
— Salah Czapary (@czapary) December 20, 2022
“One of the many things that unites everyone in the city…is our shared love for D.C. D.C. has so much to offer and it is my mission at the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture to ensure we do all we can to elevate arts and entertainment, to send a resounding message to all our residents and visitors that not only is D.C. open, but we are truly a nightlife and cultural destination,” Czapary said during a Dec. 7 confirmation hearing before the Council’s Committee on Business and Economic Development, chaired by Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (I-Ward 5).
Czapary spoke of the importance of strengthening tax revenue and providing jobs by growing the nighttime and cultural economy of the District, which serves as a “second economy” separate from the government and lobbying jobs for which the District is known. He also noted that the entry-level jobs in or adjacent to the nightlife industry offer economic opportunities for D.C. residents, particularly “returning citizens” who were previously incarcerated.
In his testimony before the Council, Czapary spoke of how he can use his role to promote local artists and performers and uplift cultural activities and offerings unique to the District, as well as the role the office can play in promoting public safety.
He also vowed to work with the stakeholders from District’s relatively large deaf and hard-of-hearing community to determine how to make nightlife and entertainment more accessible to members of those communities.
“Fundamentally, this job is about bringing people together and building community,” he said. “Our society suffers from soaring levels of loneliness. We know the negative effects this loneliness and isolation can create. By engaging stakeholders, community members, agencies and government partners, we can begin to build more places for relationships to grow and create an even more vibrant community life.”
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