Mayor-elect Eric Adams unveiled even more appointments for his incoming administration, holding true to his promise to elevate more women and people of color to leadership roles. So far the names of more than 22 staff members have been announced with hopes of having the bulk hired by mid-January, said Adams.
Adams said that an assured recovery from COVID rests in addressing the inequalities that plagued the city well before COVID-19 struck and adequate “representation” in government is a key part of that.
“When I sit down and speak with those we are bringing on board. That’s what I’m looking for, diversity and skillset,” said Adams at the conference. “There’s a lot of talent of different groups and genders that really have been on the bench for a long time, and we’re taking them off and getting them in the game.”
On Tuesday, Dec. 28, Adams kept the appointments going at a conference inside Brooklyn Borough Hall. He said there’s about 1,300 pending resumes of people excited to be a part of the administration.
“All those who come on board will go through our orientation. We’re not just hiring people to be in city hall, they have to buy into our vision, our concept, and our way of doing business,” said Adams.
The Mayor-elect kicked off with the announcement of the Public Schools Chancellor David Banks, who leads the Eagle Academy Foundation that got its start in Brooklyn. And last week, he named a slew of women-led departments, most notably the new NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and deputy mayors Lorraine Grillo, Maria Torres-Springer, Anne Williams-Isom, Meera Joshi, and Sheena Wright.
At the conference, Adams reiterated that a number of city agencies, including NYCHA, will be under review and streamlined for efficiency when he gets in office. He said that new Chief Technology Officer Matthew Fraser, who traded in his uniform as NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Information Technology, as well as other innovative tech thinkers will help accomplish that goal. “I believe that when you partner technology with the eye of our team that’s in place, we’ll be able to pinpoint those agencies that we believe are problems,” said Adams.
Adams’ campaign was heavily endorsed by Latino community members in this June’s ranked-choice primary and the general election in November. It stands to reason he’d honor that support by assuring more people get positions in his administration.
Lisa Flores, who is the deputy comptroller for Contracts and Procurement, will head the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services. She credits her years of public service to her immigrant parents.
“It’s a great honor to be a part of a team committed to restoring confidence in government. It’s a goal that is a part of my DNA,” said Flores at the press conference. “My parents, both of whom were born and raised in Puerto Rico, taught me the importance of honor, duty, and service to others.”
One of Adams’ most vocal campaign supporters, Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, was appointed the city’s first ever Latino Transportation Commissioner. Rodriguez chaired the city council’s Transportation Committee.
“I will work with the rest of my colleagues in the administration, the City Council, advocates, and the private and academic sectors, to carry on our vision of turning New York City into the most pedestrian and cyclist-friendly city in the nation,” said Rodriguez in a statement.
Adams brought in Louis Molina, a Bronx native who was chief of the Las Vegas Department of Public Safety, to be the first Latino to hold the office of Corrections Commissioner. It’s hoped that Molina will reform the “horror” conditions of Rikers Island as the city grapples with the 16th death of an incarcerated person at the jail this year.
NYC Taxi and Limousine Commissioner (TLC) Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk will be staying on. She is the first-ever Dominican-American to oversee the agency. Jarmoszuk was nominated by Mayor Bill de Blasio to be the new TLC chair back in January 2020. The TLC has had a hard time surviving taxi medallion debt and keeping drivers afloat pre-COVID and during the crisis.
Adams has kept many members of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration. Some in the same departements, others in different positions.
Sherif Soliman, a Staten Island native and trailblazing Muslim in city government, was the commissioner of the New York City Department of Finance and will now be the Office of Policy and Planning director. Similarly, Jacques Jiha in the
Office of Management and Budget will be budget director, and Gary Jenkins, human services executive, will stay on as the human resource administrator of his old department. Meanwhile, Acting Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Dawn Pinnock is staying on as commissioner.
Adams also moved to hire José Bayona, a former deputy press secretary of de Blasio’s, to serve as the first-ever executive director of the newly created City Hall Office of Ethnic and Community Media, said the Daily News.
Considering the recent onslaught of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, Adams decided that current Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi will continue in his role until March 2022 before handing over the reins to new commissioner for the
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Ashwin Vasan.
“Make no mistake: we will fight this virus with everything we have,” posted Vasan. “We will also deliver on the mayor-elect’s public health priorities by fixing our broken mental health system and ensuring equitable access to clean air, clean water, healthy food, and affordable health care.”
Vasan is the president & CEO of Fountain House, and is a physician and epidemiologist in the public health and mental health fields. Vasan said that he is “deeply honored and humbled” to join Adams’ administration and looks forward to partnering with Chokshi on battling the immediate surge of COVID-19 cases in the meantime.
Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about culture and politics in New York City for The Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w