New York City Mayor Eric Adams is seeking approval from city ethics officials to hire his brother to head its security service.
NEW YORK – New York Mayor Eric Adams is seeking approval from city ethics officials to hire his brother to head its security service.
The new mayor has hired his brother Bernard Adams, a former New York Police Department officer who most recently served as deputy director of parking at Virginia Commonwealth University, to become the mayor’s executive director of security.
The mayor’s office said on Wednesday it plans to submit documents this week requesting a waiver from the city’s Conflict of Interest Council, an independent agency that oversees and enforces the city’s conflict of interest law. . It’s unclear whether the board would grant such a waiver and if it doesn’t, if Adams can still continue working for his brother.
The law prohibits public servants from using their position to obtain “any financial gain, contract, license, privilege or other private or personal benefit, direct or indirect” for themselves or an associated person, including a sibling. The Conflict of Interest Commission may waive the law if it determines that the conduct “does not conflict with the objectives and interests of the City”.
Adams would not be the first mayor to ask for a waiver to hire a family member.
His predecessor, Bill de Blasio, was granted a waiver to hire his wife, Chirlane McCray, to chair the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the city’s charitable arm, but McCray was not paid for the role.
Eric Adams, a Democrat and former NYPD captain, defended the choice, saying his brother was 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 someone I deeply trust, ”Adams told reporters at a press conference Sunday.
Adams, who is the city’s second black mayor, said his brother’s experience as a police officer qualifies him to provide the mayor’s safety, especially amid what he called “threats increased “and” a serious problem with white supremacy “.
Adams said he wanted a security detail that would allow him to move among New Yorkers, as he did during his early days on duty when he took the subway to the hotel from town and rode a bike for a TV interview.
“I don’t want to be far from my audience. A lot of people have seen me take the metro. This is how I’m going to get around the city, ”he said.
The position is hosted by the NYPD and involves oversight of the day-to-day operations of the mayor’s security services, according to City Hall. Bernard Adams started working on December 30, two days before his brother was sworn in, and he comes with a salary of $ 210,000.
According to Eric Adams’ office, he does not receive a pension from the city while receiving his salary.
Adams said on Sunday that his brother would also oversee the security of other city officials who are entitled to security details, but Adams’s office said on Wednesday that Bernard Adams would only oversee the mayor’s security. The mayor’s office refused to explain the change in the duties of his brothers.
While there are people with the title of Executive Director in the NYPD, a recent list of employees and positions in the department does not list a Mayor’s Executive Director of Security. The mayor’s protection service falls under the department’s intelligence office, headed by chief Thomas Galati, and the office’s municipal security section, which is headed by a police officer with the title of inspector. It was not clear how Bernard Adams would fit into his role as civilian executive director.
The detail of the mayor’s security has come under scrutiny and potential misuse in the past. City investigators ruled in October that then-mayor de Blasio had abused the city’s resources by taking his police security service to the United States with him during his brief run for president for a cost around $ 320,000, and letting his adult son use the retail to get around. city and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
Associated Press writer Micahel R. Sisak contributed to this report.