Adams quietly creates new offices, empowering low-profile deputy mayor
The mayor staffed up the office in recent weeks with 10 people from different agencies, all of whom will continue being paid by those departments.
NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams often talks about reining in the city’s vast bureaucracy. At the same time, he’s created at least three new offices to get a better handle on municipal agencies — including one with wide–ranging scope under the direction of his top public safety adviser.
Without any public fanfare, Adams signed a yet-to-be-reported executive order last month to designate an Office of Risk Management and Compliance that reports to City Hall attorney Brendan McGuire, and an Office of Municipal Services Assessment under Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phil Banks.
The mayor and Banks, a high-powered official who keeps a low profile, tapped an NYPD captain and deputy inspector to run the assessment office. The police force will continue paying Miltiadis Marmara his $195,575 salary for the role, which he began last summer even before the office’s creation, according to a City Hall spokesperson. The mayor staffed up the office in recent weeks with 10 people from different agencies, all of whom will continue being paid by those departments, the spokesperson said.
Marmara, who made $224,618 last year with overtime, worked in Southeast Queens. During his three decades on the force, the Civilian Complaint Review Board substantiated three complaints against him, including one in 1996 related to use of force, according to public records.
His new office is tasked with helping city agencies “monitor and assess the delivery of services to the public and other key stakeholders to ensure that services are delivered in a professional, equitable, efficient and effective manner,” according to the executive order Adams signed Jan. 26.
It is expected to spot “deficiencies” in agencies and is empowered to conduct audits and direct commissioners on how to respond to community complaints. And it can monitor how effectively departments are correcting mistakes or poor performance related to “delivery of services,” the order reads.
The office affords Banks an expanded role beyond overseeing public safety, while taking on a politically relevant issue that Adams has deemed one of his priorities — improving government efficacy.
Until now, Banks’ job has been restricted to public safety agencies like the FDNY and Office of Emergency Management. From his office in a private building a few blocks from City Hall, he can keep an eye on the NYPD — where he served as chief of department before stepping down amid a federal corruption probe for which he was an unindicted co-conspirator. He was never charged.
Meanwhile the risk management office began operating last year but hadn’t been formally established until Adams signed the executive order in January.
As a candidate in 2021, Adams announced plans to create an office that would root out waste, fraud and abuse in city government. Run by former Deputy Comptroller Marjorie Landa, the office has six employees and a budget of $900,000, the spokesperson said.
Among the office’s tasks is auditing city agencies and troubleshooting independent audits conducted by city and state comptrollers. Adams is likely to come under increased scrutiny from City Comptroller Brad Lander as the passage of time weakens the standard tactic of blaming bad audits on the prior mayor.
Landa’s office is expected to track agency implementation of the comptrollers’ audit recommendations and report its own findings to the city’s Department of Investigation when necessary, according to the executive order.
“Making government work for everyday New Yorkers and ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent wisely are at the heart of Mayor Adams’ vision for a more equitable city,” spokesperson Jonah Allon said, noting these offices are the first of their kind. “Under the mayor’s leadership, these offices will promote smart, data-driven solutions to ensure city agencies are fulfilling their core mandates and delivering better, more efficient services to New Yorkers.”
On Friday Adams announced the creation of the Mayor’s Office for Child Care and Early Childhood Education, to focus on connecting families with “equitable, high-quality and affordable early education and care.” It comes as Adams is scaling back a pre-kindergarten program for 3-year-olds, which he said is not reaching the families most in need of it.