Mayor Adams seeks waiver to hire brother for $210,000 security job
NEW YORK – Ethical questions swirl around Mayor Eric Adams for hiring his brother, Bernard Adams, to oversee his personal security — a role that brings in multiple six figures. The mayor defended the decision. He said his brother is the most qualified person for the job and “the protection is personal”.
“I trust my brother. My brother understands me and if I had to put my life in someone’s hands, I want to put it in the hands of the person I trust deeply,” Adams told the journalists at a press conference on Sunday.
“On the face of it, it seems illegal,” said Richard Briffault, a Columbia University law professor who is a former chairman of the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board, which is the city agency that should approve hiring by the mayor of a family member.
“At this time, it’s in violation of the law,” said Briffault, who served on the Conflict of Interest Committee from 2014 to 2020.
The New York Times reported that Bernard Adams began work on Dec. 30 — two days before the mayor was sworn in — and that the Adams administration did not contact the Conflict of Interest Committee to try to get approval until Dec. 7 January, when the The New York Post reported the mayor’s brother had been hired.
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The mayor’s brother is a former NYPD sergeant who retired in 2006 after 20 years. Recently, Eric Adams defended his decision to hire his brother as an NYPD deputy commissioner with a salary of around $240,000. But after some setbacks, Bernard Adams’ job was downgraded to the mayor’s executive director of security with a salary of around $210,000, The Times reported.
However, the mayor comes up against the city’s anti-nepotism law.
“The law is quite simple,” Briffault said. “You should not use your position or office to provide financial advantage to a sibling.”
The Conflict of Interest Commission may end up granting the mayor a waiver.
“Typically, in a case like this involving the appointment of an individual, there should be an argument as to why his brother is particularly qualified for the job,” Briffault said.
Previous mayors have asked for waivers to hire family members. Bill de Blasio won a waiver to hire his wife, Chirlane McCray, to chair the Mayor’s Fund to Move New York City Forward, but McCray was not paid. And Mike Bloomberg named his sister, Marjorie Tiven, commissioner for the United Nations, consular corps and protocol. She also did not receive a salary.
With the Associated Press.