Mayor Eric Adams unleashed on reporters over criticism of his recent controversial hires — including putting his own brother in a six-figure post — saying in an extended answer Friday he will abide by a conflict board ruling but ultimately he can hire who he wants because, “I’m the mayor.”
“When other mayors hired their law partners, they hired the people they knew from school that they came up through the ranks, there was nothing to say about it,” Adams said at an unrelated press conference in Queens, appearing to bristle after days of scrutiny over his staffing.
“But I have the audacity to hire blue-collar people. Everyday folks who are union members, retired members. It’s like who you think you are putting these blue-collar workers, these everyday [hardworking] people … you know, ‘Who do you think you are, I didn’t think you could do that.’
“I’m going to hire the best people for the job that I’ve known throughout my years in government and their talents,” Adams said.
“And the reason I can do that is because I’m the mayor. 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.
“So if I want to hire a team to end the dysfunctionality of this city, I’m going to do that and I’m not going to allow people to dismantle my ability to build the right team, no matter who it is at the time. Let me finish my my comment. And so I’m hearing all this critique of what I’m doing, but those who have followed me on the campaign trail, you heard three things from me: stay focused, no distractions and crime.”
The response came to a question about an alleged proposal during the transition to replace the City Hall screening security with armed civilian employees instead of uniformed cops, similar to other New York City buildings. The proposed plan, which was reported by NBC, never moved forward after being quickly shot down.
The story comes in the wake of Adams tapping his brother, a 56-year-old retired police sergeant, to run his security detail. News of his brother’s appointment to the NYPD was first reported by The Post last week when Bernard Adams confirmed he would serve as a deputy commissioner.
He was later bumped down to executive director with a lower salary more in line with a police inspector, a uniformed rank that has historically overseen the mayor’s police detail.
Adams also faced blowback for appointing former Chief of Department Philip Banks to the deputy mayor of public safety. Banks, whose brother was also named the head of NYC schools, was an unindicted co-conspirator in one of the largest NYPD corruption scandals.
Adams was not done though, adding, “I am so focused on stopping 19-year-old girls from being shot in Burger King. I’m focused on not having a Rikers Island with 55 percent of the people who have learning disabilities and people are being displaced out of their homes. All that other stuff, that noise — it’s not going to get in my way. I have a job to do. That’s what I was elected to do. And I’m going to carry that out.”
Adams was asked later in the briefing if he wasn’t setting up a system where there “are one set of rules for you and another set of rules for public workers” regarding the potential conflict of interest over hiring his brother.
“No. One city, one standard,” Adams said. “And lets be clear that COIB will make the determination and that is what I’m going to follow. I made that over and over again, I’m going to hire a best. I’m going to make sure that they have the most skills as needed, and they are the best fit for the job and there’s one standard and every New Yorker out there must know we started up hiring up of some of the best people around ethics and rules.”
“So we’re gonna let them [COIB] do their job and I’m and I’m happy to say that, 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.”