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

FILE PHOTO: New York Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a news conference at City Hall in New York
New York Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a news conference at City Hall in New York City, U.S., January 24, 2022.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

A New York City ethics panel has agreed that Mayor Eric Adams can hire his brother as a senior security adviser, but only at $1 per year and with no power over department personnel to avoid the appearance of favoritism.

The decision by the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board, made public on Thursday, seeks to put an end to an uproar that erupted in America’s largest city after Adams initially sought to hire his younger brother Bernard as a deputy police commissioner for a yearly salary of $240,000.

The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

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.

A similar waiver was granted to Adams’ predecessor, Bill de Blasio, who appointed his wife to head the board of directors for a not-for-profit philanthropic organization.

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.

The mayor first responded by reassigning Bernard Adams, 51, to be security adviser, earning $210,000 yearly and said he would seek guidance from the ethics board.

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