New York City mayor can hire brother, but only for US$1, ethics board says

New York Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a news conference at City Hall in New York City, US on Jan 24, 2022.
PHOTO: Reuters file

A New York City ethics panel has agreed that Mayor Eric Adams can hire his brother as a senior security adviser, but only at US$1 (S$1.35) per year and with no power over department personnel.

The decision by the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board, made public on Thursday (Jan 27), follows an uproar that erupted after Adams sought to hire his younger brother Bernard as a deputy police commissioner at a yearly salary of $240,000.

The mayor responded by reassigning Bernard Adams, 51, to be security adviser and said he would seek guidance from the ethics board.

The panel said that while a city charter prohibits public servants from seeking advantages for members of their family, it would grant Adams a waiver to hire his brother because the job of senior security adviser would be essentially unpaid and carry no authority within the New York City Police Department.

The ethics board granted a similar waiver to Adams' predecessor, Bill de Blasio, who appointed his wife to head the board of directors for a not-for-profit philanthropic organisation.

"Bernard Adams is uniquely qualified for this job, and in order to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, he offered to serve for the nominal salary of $1. We made this proposal to the Conflict of Interest Board and they've agreed, and we're grateful to Bernard for being willing to serve the city for no salary," spokesman Maxwell Young said in a written statement.

Eric Adams, a 61-year-old former New York City police officer who took office on Jan 1, faced accusations of nepotism after announcing the appointment of his brother to a high-paid job in his administration.

Adams, a Democrat, was elected in November after pledging to tackle violent crime.

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