New York City Mayor Eric Adams has demoted his younger brother from deputy NYPD commissioner – a post that comes with a $240,000 salary – to the slightly less lucrative position of director of his security detail after facing accusations of nepotism.
Bernard Adams, 56, a retired NYPD sergeant who had spent the past decade overseeing parking at a Virginia university, will now serve as executive director of mayoral security, helming the unit that protects his brother’s safety. He will earn $210,000 a year – a $30,000 pay cut from what the former post promised.
New York City law bars officials from using their position ‘to obtain any financial gain’ for themselves or close associates, but the city’s ethics board has the authority to grant waivers if it finds that the ‘position would not be in conflict with the purposes and interests of the city,’ reported the New York Times.
According to internal NYPD documents cited by the Times, Bernard has been on the city’s payroll since December 30, before his brother was sworn in as mayor, but City Hall did not reach out to the Conflicts of Interest Board seeking permission to hire him until January 7, when the New York Post broke the news about the appointment.
The announcement raised some eyebrows, with many commenters on Twitter questioning Bernard Adams’ qualifications and calling his brother out for nepotism.
In an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, the mayor vehemently defended his brother’s appointment.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, pictured in white, has demoted his younger brother, Bernard, seen at the lectern, from deputy NYPD commissioner deputy director of his security detail
‘My brother is qualified for the position,’ Adams declared. ‘Number one, he will be in charge of my security, which is extremely important to me at a time when we see an increase in white supremacy and hate crimes.’
Adams argued that his brother understands that as mayor of New York City, he must strike the right balance between being protected from possible threats and being approachable to his constituents.
‘He understands law enforcement,’ Adams said. ‘He’s a 20-year retired veteran from the police department, and I need someone that I trust around me during these times for my security, and I trust my brother deeply.’
When asked about nepotism concerns, Adams told Tapper that the New York City’s Conflicts of Interest Board is currently reviewing his brother’s appointment.
Eric Adams hired his younger brother, Bernard Adam, on December 30, before he was sworn in as mayor of New York City
Bernard Adams, 56, is a retired NYPD sergeant who had spent more than a decade overseeing parking at a Virginia college
‘This does appear to be a serious problem,’ Richard Briffault, a professor at Columbia Law School and the former chair of the Conflicts of Interest Board, told The Times. ‘A public servant, which includes the mayor, can’t use his position as mayor to obtain a financial gain for a sibling.’
Adams’ LinkedIn profile mentions his current job as the assistant director for parking at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he has worked since 2008.
Bernard Adams started his career in the 7th Precinct on the Lower East Side which was a rough, heroin-infested neighborhood at the time, before moving on to Brooklyn’s 88th Precinct,
Eventually, he was assigned to the NYPD’s Queens headquarters.
Adams has appointed his longtime friend and confidant Philip Banks, who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a bribery case, to serve as deputy mayor of public safety
Bernard Adams retired with the rank of sergeant after 20 years of service in 2006. The mayor retired from the NYPD as a captain.
Bernard’s appointment last week raised eyebrows over possible conflict of interest claims and nepotism.
‘New Yorkers expect that public servants are hired based on their unique qualifications and not because they are the mayor’s brother,’ Common Cause New York’s Executive Director Susan Lerner said to the Daily News.
‘It is unclear whether a waiver from the Conflict of Interest Board would be required for this appointment. With or without a waiver, it is troubling.’
Bernard Adams is one of the few members who appeared with Eric on the campaign trail last year.
He also worked phone banks and handed out flyers for his brother’s campaign.
The pair appear to be close. Bernard described his older brother as his role model when he introduced him during an election night party last November.
Bernard’s appointment came just after the mayor tapped longtime friend and confidant Philip Banks, who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal corruption case, as deputy mayor of public safety.
Banks resigned in 2014 after being accused of accepting bribes in return for favors. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Michael Bloomberg brought his daughter Emma, left, and sister, Marjorie Tiven, right, into his administration, although they did not take a salary or were bestowed any prestigious titles
Bill de Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray was the city’s First Lady and headed a failed $1.3 billion mental health initiative ThriveNYC. City nepotism rules meant she was unable to draw a salary
During Sunday’s interview on State of the Union, the mayor defended his decision to hire Banks, despite his history.
‘I believe Phil acknowledges there were some real mistakes and errors that were made,’ Adams said. ‘He was not accused of a crime.’
Adams described Banks as ‘the best person for the job’ and argued that he could not keep a ‘talented person’ out of his administration over what he described as ‘some bad decision.’
‘He didn’t do anything that was criminal,’ the mayor added. ‘Phil is a great person at the right time to do this job. … leaving this talent on the bench is the wrong thing to do.’
Previous New York City mayors have been known to hire their family members.
Michael Bloomberg brought his daughter Emma and sister, Marjorie Tiven, into the administration, although they did not take a salary or bestowed any titles.
Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, headed the failed $1.3 billion mental health initiative ThriveNYC.
City nepotism rules meant she was unable to draw a salary.