Queens, NY – New York City Mayor Eric Adams lashed out at critics and reporters on Friday during a press event held at the Steinway & Sons factory in Astoria and explained the questionable appointments he has made since taking office as “building a team to end the inequality in our city.”
The newly-installed mayor of the Big Apple has been on the hot seat over several of the appointments he has made since he took office on Jan. 1.
On Jan. 14, Adams let loose on anyone who would question his judgement and claimed he was being held to a different standard than previous mayors.
“It’s very fascinating to me when other mayors hired their law partners, they hired the people they knew from school that they came up through the ranks, how there was nothing to say about it,” the mayor complained.
“But I have the audacity to hire blue-collar people,” he continued. “Everyday folks who are union members, retired members. It’s like who do you think you are putting these blue-collar workers, these everyday people… you know, ‘Who do you think you are, I didn’t think you could do that.’”
On Jan. 7, Adams announced he had appointed his little brother, retired New York Police Department (NYPD) Sergeant Bernard Adams, as deputy commissioner for government affairs, a job that comes with a $242,000 salary.
Bernard Adams, 56, has a degree in criminal justice from John Jay College but his LinkedIn profile indicated he has been employed in parking and transportation operations for Virginia Commonwealth University for more than 13 years, the New York Post reported.
Critics immediately jumped on Adams with accusations of nepotism, but the new mayor brushed them off and said the city’s Conflict of Interest Board (COIB) was currently vetting his appointments.
“Well, we have something here in the city called [the] Conflict of Interest Board,” the mayor told CNN on Sunday. “They do rulings and waivers, it’s going through that process now. They will make the determination and we have a great system here in the city.”
Then Adams went on to explain why he wanted to have his younger brother in charge of his mayoral security.
“Let me be clear on this,” he told Jake Tapper on CNN. “My brother is qualified for the position, number one. He will be in charge of my security, which is extremely important to me in a time where we see an increase in white supremacy and hate crimes.”
The demotion drops Bernard Adams’ authority by several levels and chops about $30,000 off of his salary.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a conflict of interest and the board has not yet made its ruling.
The mayor said he would abide by what COIB determined even as he continued to defend his hiring decisions, the New York Post reported.
“So we’re gonna let [COIB] do their job and I’m and I’m happy to say that,” Adams told reporters at the historic piano factory.
“And I’m also happy, you know, listen, I am blessed to have a brother who’s qualified, who’s smart, who has excellent credentials, who has the ability to protect his brother and I’m just, you know, I’m just blessed to be able to have that and you know, COIB will determine the rest,” the mayor added.
Adams also continued to defend his selection of a long-time friend, former NYPD Chief Philip Banks, as deputy mayor of public safety.
Banks resigned from NYPD in 2014 after he was named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in a federal corruption probe, CNN reported.
He denied accusations that he had taken bribes in exchange for favors as a police chief.
Adams told CNN “there were some real mistakes and errors” made by Banks but said his new deputy mayor of public safety hadn’t actually been “accused of a crime.”
Then he said Banks was the best person to tackle the city’s skyrocketing violent crime.
“I’m going to hire the best people for the job that I’ve known throughout my years in government and their talents,” Adams insisted again on Jan. 14.
“And the reason I can do that is because I’m the mayor,” he ranted to reporters. “I’m the mayor of the City of New York. And it’s gonna take a while before people realize that. I am responsible for building a team to end the inequality in our city.”
Adams said he wasn’t going “to allow people to dismantle my ability to build the right team, no matter who it is at the time.”