New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday addressed concerns about two of his major appointments for offices in his administration, including naming his brother as a deputy commissioner in the city’s police department and the appointment of former Police Chief Philip Banks as his deputy mayor for public safety
The mayor on Friday named his brother, retired NYPD Sergeant Bernard Adams, as the deputy police commissioner, and Banks to the deputy mayor’s role, according to Fox5 in New York City.
Sunday, Adams told CNN’s “State of the Union” that his brother’s appointment is being considered by the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board, and insisted he was hired because he needed someone he could trust for own his security concerns.
“My brother is qualified for the position,” said Adams, a Democrat. “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. I have to take my security in a very serious way…my brother has a community of affairs background, the balance that I need. He understands law enforcement. He was 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.”
Meanwhile, Banks’ appointment is being seen as controversial because of his background. CNN host Jake Tapper asked Adams if he is concerned about the appointment after his new deputy mayor had been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal corruption probe and resigned in 2014 after he was accused of accepting bribes, charges he has denied.
“Not at all,” said Adams. “I believe there were some real mistakes and errors that were made. He was not accused of a crime…he didn’t do anything criminal. Phil is a great person, the right time to do this job.”
Adams also on Sunday discussed the state of the city’s schools and COVID-19 testing availability.
He said the city is getting what it needs from the federal government to alleviate the shortages of COVID-19 testing supplies, and the city will continue expanding testing into the community and into schools to keep them open.
“We’re seeing what’s playing out in other locales but here in New York we’re doing something that’s important,” Adams, who took office at the first of the year, said. “Science dictates one thing, that the safest place for children is in a school building and what we want to do is not get in the way of preventing children from coming into that building.”
Only 40% of New York City’s residents under the age of 18 have gotten at least one shot of a COVID vaccine, but the shots are not yet mandatory as they are in other places, such as California.
“That is something I’m speaking with my health care professionals to do an evaluation to determine if that is what we do,” said Adams. “In this country, we do vaccinate for smallpox, measles, and other things. We need to educate and use the time before the fall to educate our parents to show the importance of it and we’re going to sit down and determine if we’ll roll that out as well. “
In other issues, Adams said Saturday he would support a law that was passed in December to allow roughly 800,000 legal non-citizens to vote in local elections if they’ve lived in New York for at least 30 days, and on Sunday, he insisted he had not changed his mind on the bill.
He pointed out that in Brooklyn, for example, 47% of the people speak a language other than English at home.
“It’s imperative that people in a local municipality have the right to decide who is going to govern them, and I support the overall concept of that bill,” said Adams.
He also said he encourages people to keep striving for U.S. citizenship but said the legislation won’t take away from that mission.
Meanwhile, Adams’ predecessor Bill de Blasio is considering a run for governor of New York, and Adams said he’s sure the former mayor will make the best decision about his future.
“That’s up to him,” Adams said.