Can Eric Adams Really Hire His Brother?

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ brother Bernard Adams is getting a high-level job as deputy commissioner in the New York City Police Department, the New York Post and Daily News reported on Friday. A source on Adams’ transition committee confirmed the news to City & State and said Bernard Adams will focus on community affairs. The first question on the minds of many New Yorkers: is it even legal?

Such an appointment would appear to violate the New York City Charter, in particular the section dealing with conflict of interest. Chapter 68, §2604b. (3) reads as follows: “No public servant shall use or attempt to use his position as a public servant for financial gain, a contract, license, privilege or any other private benefit or personnel, direct or indirect, for the official or any person or company associated with the official.

And § 2601 (5) makes it clear that “a person or business ‘associated’ with an official includes a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent or brother and sister; a person with whom the official has a business or other financial relationship; and each company in which the official has a current or potential interest ”(emphasis added).

Joined on Friday, the New York City Conflict of Interest Council said it could not comment on how the law would apply to specific situations. But a plain language nepotism policy posted online by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene seems to make it clear: the employee must not influence the hiring of close relatives or relationships, nor should they be in supervisory relationships with close relatives. (emphasis added)

However, some city insiders have speculated that the law may not apply directly in this case, as deputy police commissioners are appointed by NYPD commissioner Keechant Sewell, rather than the mayor directly. But in fact, making such a legal argument might elicit a few glances around Town Hall, given that Adams named Sewell and Sewell probably didn’t choose to hire Bernard Adams without Eric’s influence. Adams. Bernard is a former New York City police officer who, according to his LinkedIn profile, was recently an administrator in the Parking and Transportation Office at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The Adams administration has not confirmed Bernard Adams’ hiring and did not respond to a request for comment on Friday

But at least a good government group has been disturbed by the reports. “As the City Charter makes clear, New Yorkers expect public servants to be hired on the basis of their unique qualifications and not because they are the mayor’s brother,” said Susan Lerner. , Executive Director of Common Cause New York. “It is not clear whether a waiver from the Council on conflict of interest would be required for this appointment. Even with a waiver, the appointment of the mayor’s next of kin does not inspire public confidence.

Adams would not be the first mayor to try to find jobs for his family. Former Mayor Bill de Blasio gave First Lady Chirlane McCray an important role in her administration, chairing the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and leading ThriveNYC, the mayor’s office of mental health. Largely de Blasio regarded her as a leading advisor. She did not take a paycheck – which de Blasio publicly lamented – but reportedly received a waiver from the COIB authorizing the arrangement, given that McCray would arguably receive “a privilege or other private or personal benefit.” of his influential roles. De Blasio’s son Dante also recently produced videos contracted by the city for the administration, The City reported, but he too was unpaid.

Former mayor Michael Bloomberg has also hired his daughter, Emma Bloomberg, and sister, Marjorie Tiven, for administration positions. They were also said to have been unpaid and received authorization from the COIB.

There was no indication on Friday that Bernard Adams would forgo a salary. Current assistant commissioners earn more than $ 240,000 a year, according to records compiled by the Empire Center.

The mayor’s brother wasn’t the only one to hire the Adams administration on Friday. City Hall has officially announced the appointment of Phil Banks as Deputy Mayor for Public Safety. Banks is the brother of David Banks, who was previously Chancellor of Schools. And David Banks is the romantic partner of Sheena Wright, Adams’ deputy mayor for strategic initiatives, who also chaired the mayor’s transition committee. But it’s not just his family ties that are controversial. Former NYPD chief Phil Banks resigned from the force in 2014 following a federal corruption probe in which prosecutors named him an “unindicted co-conspirator.” Although Banks himself has never been charged with a felony, evidence is said to have shown that he had accepted gifts from two businessmen who were trying to bribe public officials. Banks’ main collaborator was among those who were ultimately convicted. In a Daily News op-ed Friday morning, Banks spoke of concerns about his integrity, saying reports that he “traded favors as a senior NYPD official for some form of compensation” was completely false. He also denied leaving the department in order to avoid an internal trial over the investigation.

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